Actor, Singer, Comedian. Currently stars on hit TV series Nashville

Born in Pittsburgh, PA, Charles “Chip” Esten grew up in Alexandria, VA.  After starting his acting career in Los Angeles, he was pleased to make his theatrical debut in London, portraying Buddy Holly in the hit West End musical “Buddy.” In that role, he was honored to perform for H.R.M Queen Elizabeth and then, for President and Mrs. George H.W. Bush at both The Kennedy Center and The White House.

Esten currently stars in the hit television series “NASHVILLE” in the role of Deacon Claybourne.  While on "Nashville”, Esten has been honored to perform at the Grand Ole Opry, the historic Ryman Auditorium, the Blue Bird Café, headlining a St. Jude Country Music Marathon Concert at the Bridgestone Arena, and performing on the CMA Fest Riverfront Stage.  In addition, he has starred in the 2014, 2015 , and 2016 “NASHVILLE in Concert” tour with sold out shows across the US and the UK.  

He is a featured artist on the nine very successful "Nashville" soundtracks that have been released to date, two of which include “I Know How to Love You Now” which he co-wrote with Deana Carter. Esten has long contemplated releasing an album or an EP of his originals.  Last summer, he decided that instead, he will be releasing brand new singles “every single Friday.”  The #EverySingleFriday series began in July 2016 and Esten says will last until he “runs out of music.”

He is proud to serve as the National Light the Night Walk Honorary Chair for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.  Esten and his wife have two daughters and a son.

Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS)

Elaine Duke became the Acting Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) on July 31, 2017. She was previously sworn in as the seventh Deputy Secretary of DHS on April 10, 2017.

Prior to her appointment, Acting Secretary Duke was the principal of Elaine Duke & Associates, LLC, where she provided acquisition and business consulting services to large and small businesses.

An accomplished leader and a civil servant for most of her career, Acting Secretary Duke has served in the federal government for nearly three decades, most recently as the Department’s Senate-confirmed Under Secretary for Management, a position she held from 2008-2010.

As Under Secretary, she was responsible for the Department’s management functions and corresponding $47 billion budget. Prior to her appointment, she served both as the Department’s Deputy Under Secretary for Management and Chief Procurement Officer. She also served as Deputy Assistant Administrator for Acquisition at the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), delivering an acquisition program that met the post 9/11 legislative mandate to federalize passenger and baggage screening at U.S. airports. Prior to her service at DHS, Acting Secretary Duke held various positions with the U.S. Department of Defense.

Acting Secretary Duke received her B.S. in Business Management from New Hampshire College, now Southern New Hampshire University, and her M.B.A. from Chaminade University of Honolulu.

Over the course of her federal government service, Acting Secretary Duke has received the Presidential Meritorious Rank Award, the DHS Secretary’s Medal, the TSA Silver Medal for Customer Service, the Department of the Army Commander’s Award for Public Service, and the U.S. Coast Guard’s Distinguished Public Service Medal. Acting Secretary Duke has served as a member of the Homeland Security Advisory Council and as a strategic advisor to the Government Technology and Services Coalition, assisting small and mid-tier businesses in the federal sector. She has taught acquisition at American University.

Actor, Writer, Producer, Director

Adam Black is an actor, writer, producer, director and TV-host based in Franklin TN. For 7 years, he hosted multiple TV shows on Country Music Television (CMT) such as CMT Outsider, Video Replay, and was a recurring guest host on Top 20 Countdown and CMT Insider. For almost 3 years, Adam could be seen as the "Walmart Guy" in multiple cities around the country for the Walmart Corporation. Currently, Adam is the CEO of Gabriel Communications, creators of the TV shows Country's Family Reunion and Larry's Country Diner. He lives in Franklin, Tennessee with his wife and two children.

Project Manager, CSL International

Adam Kerns serves as a Project Manager with Conventions, Sports & Leisure International and brings more than 12 years of sports industry experience.  Prior to joining CSL, Mr. Kerns worked in the media relations departments for the Houston Astros and Texas Rangers, serving as a statistical analyst and media liaison. Over the past 9 years, Mr. Kerns has completed over 200 consulting engagements for a variety of sports and entertainment sectors, including professional sports franchises, collegiate athletic departments, municipalities and public authorities, investment banks, and private real estate developers. Mr. Kerns has comprehensive experience providing a variety of research and advisory services, including market and financial feasibility, primary and secondary market research and analysis, economic and fiscal impact analyses, facility funding analysis, and management structure recommendations and analysis. In 2015, Mr. Kerns was a featured presenter at the Goldman Sachs Business of Football Conference in London, which discussed the current state of stadium development in Europe and the impacts associated with new facilities.  Mr. Kerns received his Master of Arts in Athletic Administration from the University of Iowa in 2006 and his Bachelor of Arts in Health & Sport Studies / Communication Studies from the University of Iowa in 2005.

Instructor, University of South Carolina

Adonis “Sporty” Jeralds is a native of Fayetteville, North Carolina and attended Guilford College on a basketball scholarship.  He holds two master’s degrees: one from UNC Chapel Hill and the other from the University of Massachusetts.  He started his career at the Hampton Virginia Coliseum and moved to the Charlotte Coliseum in 1988.  He became manager of the Charlotte Coliseum in 1990.  He was manager of the Coliseum for 15 years.  In his career, he coordinated such internationally recognized events as the Men’s and Women’s Final Four, The ACC Tournament, the NBA All-Star Game, and visits from the Rolling Stones and Mother Teresa.  He is the co-author of Public Assembly Venue Management: Sports, Entertainment, Meeting and Convention Venues (First Edition).  He is the author of three other books: “The Champion In You,” “Let Your Light Shine, and “Follow The Bouncing Ball.”  He has been awarded the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Massachusetts Sports Management Program.  He is a full time instructor at the University of South Carolina and also works in Corporate Social Responsibility with the Charlotte Hornets.  He and his wife Teresa are the proud parents of Jazmine and the Jacob.

Special Agent, Joint Terrorism Task Force Memphis Division - Nashville RA, FBI

Special Agent (SA) Adriaan Valk has been with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for 20 years. After completing New Agent’s Training at the FBI Academy, SA Valk was assigned to the Nashville Resident Agency, working white collar crime and health care fraud. In April, 2001, SA Valk was transferred to the squad that later became the Joint Terrorism Task Force after the 9/11 attacks. During his sixteen years on the JTTF, SA Valk has worked domestic and international terrorism investigations, weapons of mass destruction cases, and bombing matters. SA Valk is currently assigned as the JTTF coordinator, and a relief supervisor.

SA Valk is an assistant Weapons of Mass Destruction Coordinator for Middle Tennessee, and was a member of the Memphis SWAT team for seven years. In 2006, SA Valk attended the FBI’s Hazardous Devices School, and was certified as a Special Agent Bomb Technician. Since then, he has provided training to state and local bomb technicians and first responders on a variety of explosive-related subjects, including improvised explosives, post-blast investigation, and large vehicle bombs.

President & CEO, Nashville Symphony

Alan D. Valentine joined the Nashville Symphony as its President and CEO in June 1998. Since then, he has presided over an unprecedented period of growth at the Symphony, highlighted by a total of 11 GRAMMY® Awards and 20 GRAMMY® nominations; 30 highly regarded and best-selling CD releases on the Naxos, Decca and New West labels; a total of nine national television broadcasts, one of which won an Emmy Award; multiple national radio appearances, including the internationally syndicated radio series American Encores; a critically acclaimed Carnegie Hall debut and sold-out East Coast tour in September 2000; two consecutive and very successful capital and endowment campaigns in which a total of $145 million was raised; and the construction of the world-class, acoustically superb Schermerhorn Symphony Center, which opened in September 2006.

Valentine currently serves on the Steering Committee for Nashville's Agenda. He is a former member of the boards of the National Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (Nashville Chapter), the Nashville Chamber of Commerce, the Nashville Arts Coalition, the Association of Non-Profit Executives, Center for Nonprofit Management, Nashville Downtown Partnership and the Nashville City Club.

Venue Manager, Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center

Alex Keen is the Venue Manager of the Mesa Community College Performing Arts Center. Alex supervised the final construction and grand opening of the MCC Performing Arts Center in the fall of 2014 and currently oversees front-of-house and technical operations for 200+ events and productions per year in the facility. Alex worked on 20+ productions at the Ogunquit Playhouse in Ogunquit, Maine including technical direction of Damn Yankees, South Pacific and Miss Saigon. He served as an Adjunct Faculty member and Technical Coordinator for 15+ productions at Scottsdale Community College. Alex is an ETCP Certified Rigger – Theatre, NFPA Rope Rescue Technician Level I/II, and is a graduate of IAVM Venue Management School. He is active with IAVM and serves on the IAVM Venue Safety and Security Committee as well as the IAVM University Committee.

Alex holds a Bachelors of Interdisciplinary Studies from Arizona State University (Summa Cum Laude) and completed a season-long Production Apprenticeship at the Orlando Shakespeare Theatre. He is currently pursuing a Masters in Security Management from the University of Denver.

Chief Operating Officer, Visual Labs, Inc.

Alexander L. Popof is the Chief Operating Officer of Visual Labs, Inc., a Silicon Valley-based software company that calls itself “The body camera company that does not make body cameras.” ™  Alexander is a business executive responsible for the financial and operational aspects of Visual Labs.  Alexander began his career with Deloitte where he rose to become an audit manager.  For more than 30 years since leaving Deloitte, he has served as a senior executive for entrepreneurial companies, both large and small, and both public and private.  Alexander has been a speaker for many national audiences on the subject of technology trends for body worn cameras.  Alexander is an actively-licensed Certified Public Accountant in the State of California.  He received his Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Arizona with a major in Accounting and his Master of Business Administration degree from the University of California, Irvine with a concentration in Finance.

Booking Director, VStar Entertainment Group

Amy Rahja brings nearly 20 years of industry experience to her role as Booking Director for VSTAR Entertainment Group. Amy began her career as a marketing professional for Detroit’s Olympia Entertainment and moved to Minneapolis in 2003 to work for VEE Corporation (now VSTAR). In addition to working as a promoter for VEE, the move to Minneapolis provided the opportunity to further build her marketing and booking skills working with companies like Clear Channel Entertainment, Sue McLean & Associates, The Historic Theatre Group and Mr. Chan Presents. She then spent 4 years as a Booking Director for Feld Entertainment before joining VSTAR in July of 2016. When not working, Amy enjoys live music events, spending time with her family and spoiling her 11-year-old German Shepherd Mix, Stella.

EVP, Partner, Venue Coalition, Inc

Andrew Prince has extensive experience in various roles within the live touring industry, most notably as promoter, producer, talent buyer and venue booking representative. He is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of Venue Coalition and is focused on identifying new business and programming opportunities for its member venues. Andrew has played a key role in the in the growth and development of Venue Coalition since its inception. He is also a graduate of IAVM's Venue Management School and has a great passion for live events and confirming shows!

Sr. Director of Booking, VStar Entertainment Group

Andriana Magness has been bringing family entertainment to venues for the past 11 years as Senior Director of Booking for VEE Corporation, now known has VSTAR Entertainment.   Prior to joining VSTAR in 2005, Andriana started out in the Classical Music industry, with gigs at the Minnesota Orchestra, ICM Artists (aka Opus 3), and the National Repertory Orchestra in Breckenridge, CO.  When she’s not working with the Paw Patrol pups, Curious George, and Dinosaurs, Andriana is busy carting her 8-year-old and almost 6-year-old to soccer, skiing, piano, swimming, and gymnastics!

Director of Booking, Target Center / AEG

Andy Warg is a twenty-four year veteran of the live entertainment business.

Graduating from the University of Minnesota in 1993, Andy launched into show business as a big bird light salesman on an international tour of Sesame Street Live! After two years at VEE Corporation, Andy worked his way into managing national broadway show tours. Some of the productions under his direction included Smokey Joes Cafe, Jolson: The Musical and Joseph, Grease and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.

In 2000, Andy hung up his touring shoes and made the jump to venue management. Hired by Historic Theatre Group in 2000, Andy managed the operations at the State, Orpheum and Pantages Theatres in Minneapolis.

Since 2004, Andy has served as the Director of Booking for Target Center. Over the years the arena has hosted a multitude of historic concerts, family shows, and sporting events. The highlight of Andy's career occurred in 2014 when Target Center had the privilege to host eleven sold out Garth Brooks shows.

In his spare time Andy enjoys producing music festivals. Joining forces with Zombie Productions in 2013, Andy and his partners produce a music and arts event called Zombie Pub Crawl. In three years, he festival has sold over 70,000 tickets and was recognized with a Guinness Book of World Records award in 2014.

Raising his amazing 14-year-old daughter, walking the dog and riding his motorcycle consume the remaining waking hours of his beautiful life in Minnesota.

Director of Event Experiences, Spectra Venue Management at the St. Charles Convention Center

Angie started at the St. Charles Convention Center as an Event Manager in 2007 and was promoted to Director in 2011. When asked her favorite thing about her job, Angie replied, "Constantly learning. There is always something new in our ever-changing industry." Angie loves that the staff at the convention center are like her family and explains, "Everyone will jump in and bring you up if you are down as well as offer up different perspectives and ideas." Angie is currently serving as the Region 3 Director of IAVM and sits on the Executive Committee. She lives for weekends at the Lake of the Ozarks and loves watching her kids grow, learn and experience life.

Assistant Production Supervisor, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

Annie Wilson is the Assistant Production Supervisor at Portland’5 Centers for the Arts in Portland, Oregon. She holds degrees from the University of Notre Dame and the University of Oregon. She is a licensed CPA and has worked as a Senior Auditor and Revenue Manager in the US and internationally. She is overjoyed to spend her days (and some nights) working backstage. Annie is an active member of the International Association of Venue Managers, where she serves on the Performing Arts Committee and presents Conferences. Annie was selected as one of IAVM’s ‘30 Under 30’ Venue Professionals in 2015. Annie enjoys baking, running, traveling, spreadsheets, fishing, exclamation points, corny musicals, and Fighting Irish football.

President, West Wing Events

Antwone Stigall, CMP is an award-winning and credentialed event planner with more than 10+ years of experience in strategic meetings & events management. Antwone started his career managing and producing events at a mega church in Memphis, TN where he quickly learned the art and science of programming environments for effective and impactful experiences, He’s since then taken that learning to newer heights everywhere he goes. Now serving as Chief Events Officer of Antwone Stigall & Co. (formerly known as West Wing Events), Antwone spends his days helping clients achieve maximum potential for their programs while also teaching Meeting and Event planning courses and industry certification courses to seasoned, mid-career, and aspiring event professionals.  In his spare time, Antwone proudly serves as the International Chair of the Diversity & Inclusion Task Force for Meeting Professionals International, he’s a member of the Shelby County Mayor’s Young Professionals Council, and volunteers as a mentor to several youth nonprofit organizations. Beloved Son, Favorite Uncle, Pesky Big Brother, and Loving Godfather – Antwone’s family is proud of the work being established on the Stigall family’s name and hopes that he can make the professionals of this industry just as proud of that work as well.

Assistant General Manager, Arena Operations, Sacramento Kings

Aran Rush is entering his third season with the Sacramento Kings as the Assistant General Manager for Arena Operations.  Rush provides day-to-day direction of facility programming, maintenance and operations of Golden 1 Center.

Golden 1 Center opened in October of 2016 as the first LEED Platinum Sports Venue in the World.  Golden 1 Center was named Sports Facility of Year by the 2017 Sports Business Awards.   Fast Company named the Sacramento Kings the Most Innovative Company in Sports for 2017.

Rush has a Bachelor’s degree from Central Michigan University in Facility Management, a Master of Science degree from St. Thomas University in Sports Administration and a certificate in executive leadership from Cornell University.  He is graduate of the Oglebay Facility Management School.

Vice President of Sales and Touring for InHouse Booking

Barbara is an entertainment executive with over twenty years of experience in the production and promotion of concerts and theatrical shows; tour development, booking and routing; and arena and theatre management. She was a part of the executive team that opened the Fargo Dome in North Dakota which had over 250 events in its first year.  Barbara was also a Promoter Representative for two national tours of Neil Diamond through Arch Angel Music Concerts, Inc.  These tours had sold out shows in over 100 arenas.  In addition, she developed and managed promotional tours for Fox Kids and Fox Family and produced ELVIS LIVES, the first ever Elvis tour utilizing Elvis Tribute Artists as well as photography and film footage of Elvis Presley endorsed and licensed by His Estate.  She holds a B.A. in Communications and Rhetoric from Iowa State University and actively volunteers in the theatre programs at the Girls Preparatory School and McCallie School in Chattanooga, TN where she resides with her husband, two children and their Bernese mountain dog. 

Consultant, GFS Associates

Barry Strafacci is veteran of the convention center, fairgrounds, and expo center industry with various senior management roles throughout his 35 plus year career. His most recent responsibilities include serving as a consultant with GFS Associates and prior to that Barry was Vice President, Special Projects and a Regional Vice President for Global Spectrum.

For GFS Associates, Barry provides senior executive perspective to new and existing public assembly venues. Recent clients include: the Portland Expo Center, the Sharonville Convention Center, Nathan Benderson Park, and the Lakeland Center.

For Global Spectrum, Barry was part of the senior management team of fastest growing company in the industry providing owners with innovative management systems of convention/exhibition centers, theaters, fairgrounds, stadiums and arenas. He was responsible for providing pre-opening assistance including design review, staffing, sales and marketing strategies/systems, labor relations, food services, and day to day operations to all Global Spectrum clients. Including supervision of various accounts. Providing strategic sales approach to booking meetings, conventions, banquets, trade shows, livestock events and fairs.

As a Regional Vice President for Global Spectrum, Barry’s responsibilities included direct supervision of day to day management of various accounts including: Clovis Civic Center, St Charles Convention Center, Overland Park Convention Center, Palm Beach County Convention Center, Greater Richmond Convention Center, Las Cruces Convention Center, Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, Durham Convention Center, Richard R Borchard Fairgrounds, and Owensboro Convention Center.

Barry also served as General Manager or Interim General Manager for the following Global Spectrum facilities: Greater Richmond Convention Center, Harborview Convention Center, South Okanagan Entertainment Complex/Penticton Trade and Convention Centre, and the Putra World Trade Centre in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Prior to his time with Global Spectrum, Barry was the Stadium Manager for the Civic Stadium in Portland, Oregon; Director of Facilities of the Cashman Center Complex in Las Vegas Nevada; and the Director of the Tampa Convention Center.

Barry is also the former Vice President/COO for the Kentucky Fair and Expo Center and Commonwealth Convention Center. In this role he was responsible for day-to-day management of operations, sales/bookings, administration, box office, parking operations and event services. Responsible for all long term lease agreements to include land lease agreements with Executive Inn East, Executive Inn West and downtown Hyatt Regency. The facility was home to University of Louisville men's basketball and football games, Louisville Redbirds Triple A Minor League baseball, major national tradeshows, national/international horseshows, livestock events and the Kentucky State Fair.

Barry started his career as the Senior Policy and Budget Advisor for the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Policy and Management.

Barry is extremely active in the following professional organizations: International Association of Venue Management (IAVM), International Convention Center Conference Program Chair, Meeting Planners International (MPI ), American Society of Association Executives (ASAE ), International association of Exhibits & Events (IAEE ) National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS ), Industry Advisory Council- Center for Exhibition Research, Convention Industry Council Advisory Board, Florida Facilities Management Association (FFMA).

Executive Director, California Fair Services Authority

Becky Bailey-Findley has been the Executive Director for California Fair Services Authority (CFSA) since 2012, a joint powers authority that delivers efficient and cost-effective risk management, insurance and business solutions to California fairs. Bailey-Findley provides leadership and experience that help the authority and its member fairs face critical challenges and threats in the fair industry. In particular she works with member fairs on strategic planning, CEO training and board development.

Prior to joining CFSA, Bailey-Findley spent 22 years with the OC Fair & Event Center (OCFEC) where she held numerous management positions prior to her appointment to CEO in 1994, a position she held for 15 years. In that role, the OC Fair grew to an annual budget of $28 million and expanded to a 21-day event with annual attendance exceeding one million guests. The OCFEC became an active and vital event center hosting more than 150 shows and events annually.

Bailey-Findley believes her real strength is in community service and leadership. She currently serves at the Board Chair for Girl Scouts of Orange County and has served on a variety of nonprofit boards and committees within the California fair industry. She was inducted into the Western Fairs Association Hall of Fame in 2009.

Membership & Ticketing Services Manager, The Classic Center

Beth Bryant serves as the Membership and Ticketing Services Manager at The Classic Center in Athens, Georgia. Her role oversees both the growth of membership for The Classic Center’s non-profit Foundation as well as the day to day ticket selling operations of the Box Office. Beth has been working full time for The Classic Center even prior to her graduation from The University of Georgia’s Grady College of Journalism in May of 2014. She oversaw the facilities transition to the Paciolan ticketing software in the fall of 2013 and has shepherded The Classic Center through the growth of their ticketed revenue from $31,000 to over $2 million during her tenure. Beth is a member of the 2017 30-Under-30 Class and the mother of two German Short Hair Pointers, Mavis and Maggie.

Vice-President, Event Marketing & Sales, Southern Region, FELD Entertainment

Feld Entertainment and Motorsports is the largest live touring family entertainment and motor sports company in the world. As a VP of Event Marketing and Sales, Bill Powell currently manages the business of bringing live motor sports and entertainment events to major markets in the Southern U.S. Additionally he manages the event marketing and serves on the strategic committee for Monster Energy Supercross and Amsoil Arenacross.

Early in his career Bill was responsible for Feld Entertainment’s international expansion into the Latin American entertainment market having pioneered the introduction of Disney on IceSM , Feld Motorsports and Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey®, into Mexico, Spain and eight countries in South America. Recently, he helped shape Feld Entertainment's expansion towards incorporating analytics into its annual business process.

On the live event industry level Bill is actively involved with the International Association of Venue Managers. He currently serves on the trade association’s Industry Affairs Council and is past chairman of the board of trustees for the IAVM Foundation. Additionally, Bill has served as adjunct professor at the University of South Carolina, College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management where he helped develop the curriculum for live entertainment marketing.

On a community level Bill is active in raising funds and awareness for Tampa General Hospital Foundation and the Circus Ring of Fame Board of Directors in Sarasota, Florida.

In his spare time, Bill is a fitness enthusiast, avid cyclist, mountaineer and expert skier. He has completed successful summits of Mt. Rainier and Grand Teton. Bill and his wife Sherry (CMO for the Florida Orchestra) reside in the Tampa Bay area of Florida.

Regional Vice President, SMG Corporate

Bob is a 38-year industry veteran who has served in a variety of leadership roles with SMG for over 19 years. He currently oversees a number of facility accounts, while handling new business development for the Stadium and Arena and Theater Divisions. Prior to joining SMG, he was the President and COO of Centennial Management Group, Inc., a venue management company, and has held several other industry positions including Vice President-Operations for Ogden Entertainment Services, Executive Vice President of the Entertainment Group at Madison Square Garden, General Manager of Philadelphia’s First Union Spectrum, Vice President of Detroit’s Joe Louis and Cobo Arenas, and General Counsel to the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings.

Chief Project Development Officer, Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment, Air Canada Centre

From Toronto to Vancouver and back again, Robert (Bob) Hunter has spent his entire career marketing and managing some of Canada’s premier sports and entertainment facilities. A native of Hamilton, Ontario, Hunter attended the University of Waterloo where he obtained his Honours Bachelor of Science degree and then attended graduate school at the University of Washington, Seattle specializing in Sports Medicine.

Hunter started his career at the harbourfront entertainment complex, “Ontario Place” in Toronto. In 1982, he left to open the 60,000 seat BC Place Stadium in Vancouver where, he was responsible for all event services, production and facilities management.

In 1985, he moved to the Expo ’86 Vancouver World’s Fair management team with a mandate to construct and develop British Columbia’s pavilions. Following construction of this $145 million entertainment complex, Hunter then managed the property throughout the six-month Fair.

Hunter returned to Toronto in early 1987 to work on the $600M SkyDome Stadium project as Vice President of Operations and Fan Services. After five years with SkyDome (now renamed Rogers Centre), Hunter was promoted to President and CEO.

In 1994, Hunter joined PROFAC Management Group as President and CEO. This firm was responsible for providing real estate investment and facility management services for large Canadian corporations.

In January 1998, Hunter returned to the sports and entertainment industry as Executive Vice President and General Manager of Canada’s newest arena, Air Canada Centre, home of the NHL Toronto Maple Leafs and NBA Toronto Raptors. Now 15 years later, the arena is still annually ranked in the top three busiest entertainment venues in North America. In addition to Air Canada Centre, Hunter also oversaw management and bookings for Ricoh Coliseum (home to the AHL Toronto Marlies) and BMO Field Soccer Stadium (home to MLS’s Toronto FC).

In 2014, Bob’s focus changed with his new position of Chief Project Development Officer. In this role, Bob manages major business and project opportunities as well as all annual capital projects for all Maple Leaf Sports & Entertainment venues. Currently he is overseeing over $200M in projects for the company including a $135M renovation to BMO Field, home of MLS’s Toronto FC.

Bob currently serves on the Boards of Metro Toronto Convention Centre, the Toronto Entertainment District Business Improvement Association and the Deans Advisory Council at the University of Waterloo. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the University of Waterloo, Trillium Health Centre Foundation, Tourism Toronto and the Board of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). Also with IAVM, he has served as Chair of the Arenas Committee, Vice Chair on both the Certified Facility Executive Board and the IAVM Foundation. He also lectures annually at the IAVM Venue Management School.

In 2007, he was presented with an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from the University of Waterloo. In the same year, he was recognized as one of the Top 50 Alumni on the occasion of the University of Waterloo’s 50th Anniversary. He currently sits on the Dean’s Advisory Council for the Faculty of Applied Health Sciences.

Hunter is an avid squash player and golfer.

A respected and innovative industry veteran with an unparalleled combination of experience, Bobby Goldwater has had a career of impressive accomplishments including serving 24 years in a number of executive positions at Madison Square Garden, opening STAPLES Center as the arena’s first Senior Vice President and General Manager and leading the successful effort to bring Major League Baseball back to Washington, D.C.  Bobby is currently the President of The Goldwater Group consulting firm with notable projects in the sports, entertainment and venue management industry and the chairman of the Washington DC Sports Hall of Fame.  He is a distinguished faculty member with Georgetown University’s Sports Industry Management master’s program, with which he served an 18-month term as its Interim Associate Dean, initiated its online curriculum and developed a sports management education program in association with Josoor Institute in Doha, Qatar.  He is the co-author of the textbook, The Sports Management and Marketing Playbook, Second Edition, and also is a Wiley Education Services Faculty Fellow.  Bobby has been an IAVM member for more than 30 years and presently serves as the vice chair of the Universities Committee and on the VenueConnect Programming and Allied Advisory committees. 

Sr. Vice President, Convention Centers General Manager- Los Angeles Convention Center AEG Facilities

Brad Gessner is a 39-year veteran of the hospitality and public assembly facility management industry. In addition to being the Sr. Vice President for convention centers for AEG Facilities, he is also the General Manager of the Los Angeles Convention Center responsible for the day-to-day management of that facility. As the Sr. VP of Convention Centers for AEG Facilities, he is responsible for overseeing and expanding the management services and delivery of best practices in the areas of convention center management, operations, guest services, sales and marketing, and is also responsible for the management oversight of the Hawaii Convention Center and Puerto Rico Convention Center. Gessner came to AEG from the San Diego Convention Center Corporation (California) in 2012, where he spent 14 years in senior management positions and was the General Manager of that award winning convention center for six years.

He is an industry leader in the areas of sustainability and “green” practices and served as the Vice Chair and Chair of the Sustainability Committee for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) from 2008 – 2012. He also chaired the “Green Team” for the San Diego Convention Center Corporation and oversaw the process that resulted in that facility attaining LEED EB O&M SILVER Certification from the U.S. Green Buildings Council in 2011. The Los Angeles Convention Center received LEED EB O&M GOLD recertification during Brad’s tenue as the general manager.

Gessner has been an adjunct faculty professor and visiting lecturer for San Diego State University and Cal Poly’s Hospitality and Tourism Management Department and completed his Master’s Degree in Hospitality & Tourism Management at SDSU in 2013.

Columnist, "Inside Nashville", The Tennessean

Brad Schmitt writes the Inside Nashville column for The Tennessean, getting powerful, personal stories from Music City's movers and shakers. Olympic ice skating champ Scott Hamilton has told Brad about adopting children from Haiti. Mt. Zion Baptist Church’s Bishop Joseph Walker shared the painful story of his first wife’s deadly battle with cancer. Nashville Sheriff Daron Hall revealed that he once found himself in the back of a police car when Hall was a teen. Brad comes to the job with his own story. He spent 12 years writing celebrity column “Brad About You” for The Tennessean before joining WKRN-News 2 as an entertainment reporter. During his TV reporter days, Brad was convicted twice in three years for drunken driving. Brad got fired, and he went to jail and rehab before getting into recovery from substance abuse in 2010. The Tennessean offered the “Inside Nashville” column to Brad four years later. Since then, Brad tries to bring the same authenticity and vulnerability he uses in recovery to his columns.

Creative Director, Project Development, BRC Imagination Arts

Brad Shelton is a creative leader who transforms the aspirations of clients into exceptional projects. As an expert at practical, hands-on project development, Brad has overseen the project development of entire theme parks, entertainment resorts, attractions, media and sports experiences, and urban retail/entertainment/dining districts, while, at the same time, serving as a writer and Creative Director on projects in the United States, China, Dubai, South Korea, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Ukraine, and the United Kingdom. 

Brad has created work for the Milwaukee Brewers including The Selig Experience at Miller Park, The Ryman Auditorium, the Dreamworks Animation Park, Hainan Space Park, Royal Caribbean Cruise Airlines, Magic Planet, The Grand Ole Opry and more.

Brad’s experience comes in many different entertainment forms from story structure and screenwriting to live production and theater to management and fundraising. In the theater, Brad worked as a producer and director around the world for over a decade, including productions in Arezzo, Italy and Cairo, Egypt, with the Lincoln Center Directors Lab in New York City, and award-winning productions in Chicago, New York City, North Carolina and Los Angeles. 

A native of East Tennessee, Brad is a graduate of Rhodes College and the American Repertory Theater’s Institute for Advanced Theater Training at Harvard University.

Director of Sports & Entertainment, Johnson Consulting

Brandon specializes in market and financial analysis for public assembly facilities, with specialized expertise in financial modeling, market research, data analytics and industry best practices. He is also experienced in economic and fiscal impact analysis and has assisted cities and communities in their application for Tax Increment Financing (TIF) and other public funding.

Since joining Johnson Consulting in 2008, Brandon has completed over 75 public assembly facility feasibility studies. His most recent achievements as a sports consultant came in 2015 with the successful opening of four sports facilities in which he served as lead feasibility consultant, including three collegiate facilities and one minor league ballpark, resulting in over $200 million in successful development.  Brandon led an economic and fiscal impact analysis, as well as a community improvement district revenue study, on behalf of the St. Louis Blues for the recently approved $130 million renovation of the Scottrade Center.  He also led the feasibility analysis for a $200 million, 19,000 seat arena which was just approved by the City of Virginia Beach and is expected to break ground later this year. Additionally, the feasibility analysis he led for the University of Louisville and the proposed premium seating mix of the $60 million expansion to Papa John’s Stadium is outpacing original projections and it expected to be complete by opening day 2018, one year in advance.

Brandon is affiliated with several industry associations and has been invited to speak at past events. He currently serves as a stadium committee member for the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).

He holds a Bachelor degree in Business and Urban Planning from Arizona State University and resides in Chicago, IL.

Board Director, Kirkegaard Associates

Brenda J. Walker has worked on the leading edge of technology, design and music since the emergence of the web and the growth of digital platforms. Brenda began her career in artists & repertoire for Island Records, eventually holding director positions at A&M and Virgin Records, overseeing recordings and tours across North America and abroad. Next, she launched a digital music consulting firm to advise startups on revenue generation and product design. Brenda later joined Zumobi, a pioneering mobile app firm in Seattle, where she conceived and published apps for major television and magazine media partners. Fueled by a lifelong love of design and architecture, Brenda joined Kirkegaard Associates in 2013 and serves as the firm’s lead strategist on its board of directors. She is launching new initiatives in emerging technologies, focused on virtual, augmented and mixed reality experience design. As a musician and avid technologist, Brenda brings an artist’s perspective and an early-adopting pragmatist’s skepticism to the potential new uses of technology. A former Recording Academy governor and board member for the Central District Forum for Arts and Ideas in Seattle, Brenda is a frequent speaker and panel moderator on creative entrepreneurship, emerging technology and digital media.

National Sales Manager for Professional Sports, Daktronics

Brent has spent the majority of his career helping the digital signage industry come up with exciting new solutions. He started at Daktronics in 1998 where he worked in the Major League Sports market. Currently, he leads that market for Daktronics as the National Sales Manager for Professional Sports where he has been involved with some of the world’s largest and most unique LED display installations. He enjoys the challenges of new stadium projects as well as helping facilities retrofit their existing building to stay on top of the technology curve. In 2014, he took a step away from Daktronics to work on the other side of the table with Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment (VWSE) where he helped the Minnesota Vikings and Atlanta Braves design and implement their technology solutions for their new stadiums. In the spring of 2016, after his stint with VWSE, he rejoined Daktronics to again help lead the company’s charge in professional sports."

Agent, CAA

Brian Hill has been an agent for nearly 25 years. He loves the clients and his coworkers at CAA but would much rather talk about his awesome wife and four nearly-perfect children.

Principal, Event Partnership

In 1995 Brian, began his career in the professional sports industry with the Golden State Warriors. Several years later he transitioned to a position with the Sacramento Kings selling Corporate Sponsorships, a move that allowed him to hone his craft and cement his reputation as an astute sales and marketing professional. In 2001, Brian re-focused his career by looking outside of the professional sports industry and founded Honebein & Associates. That very same year he was awarded the contract to sell sponsorships for the California State Fair, as well as several other events throughout Northern California. These early ventures proved tremendously successful, and provided Brian with a solid foundation upon which he’s built throughout his career; in January 2012 the rapid growth of his business necessitated re-branding and Event Partnership, LLC was established.

Brian is very innovative, energetic and passionate about his career in sales and marketing. He’s highly regarded and trusted as a resource for event sponsorship and has conducted seminars for CalFest and the Western Fair Association Annual Conference and Managers Conference. Through the duration of his seventeen year sponsorship sales career, he has sold well over $53,000,000 in corporate sponsorships—an impressive figure that’s truly a testament to his tireless work ethic.

General Manager, Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza

Brian Sipe has been the General Manager of the SMG-managed Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre, PA since October 2014. Since his time in Wilkes-Barre, the Arena has hosted sold-out concerts from Blake Shelton to Amy Schumer to Barry Manilow, two rallies with now President Donald Trump, record breaking Feld Entertainment shows and two sold-out WWE Television events among many other events. The arena is also home to the AHL Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Previous to Wilkes-Barre, Brian managed the Big Sandy Superstore Arena in Huntington, WV which was nominated twice for an ACM Venue of the Year award and where he was a recipient of the Venues Today Generation Next Award. Sipe somehow convinced his lovely wife Kaitlyn to marry him and loves his dog Kooshball!

Director, Office of SAFETY Act Implementation, US Department of Homeland Security

The purpose of the SAFETY Act Program is to provide risk and litigation management incentives to the private sector to develop and deploy effective antiterrorism technologies and services to the maximum extent possible. As the Program Director, Mr. Davidson provides strategic vision and ensures aggressive program execution for a front-line statutory program designed to encourage the private sector to make consequential investments to strengthen our homeland security. Driven and compelled to make a difference, his central focus is to build and sustain a world class, nationally significant program, and consistently deliver outcomes far exceeding expectations. Mr. Davidson draws on his background in law and economics in contributing to the activities of this multi-disciplinary office. Prior to joining the Department of Homeland Security and the SAFETY Act Program in 2006, Mr. Davidson was a member in a Metropolitan D.C. area law firm, with an emphasis on federal practice. He also had a distinguished career as a surface warfare officer and judge advocate in the U.S. Navy, which included service as a staff assistant in the Office of the Under Secretary of Defense for Policy.

Mr. Davidson earned a B.A. in Economics from Cornell University, an M.A. from the U.S. Naval War College, a J.D. from the University of South Carolina and an LL.M. in International Law from Georgetown University. He is a member of the Bar of the District of Columbia."

Senior Vice President, Branch Administration, Contemporary Services Corporation

Bruce Wagner began his CSC career in the early 1980’s. In 1990, he was promoted to Manager of Event Staff Operations at the Hollywood Bowl. During this time, Bruce was also the General Manager for CSC’s affiliate company, Crowd Management Inc., where he managed the ushers, ticket takers and gate stub audits at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Los Angeles Sports Arena, and Rose Bowl Stadium.

Bruce relocated to Nashville in 1996 in order to serve as Branch Manager for CSC’s newest location, which continues to thrive today. CSC Nashville clients currently include Gaylord Entertainment Center, Titans Coliseum, Vanderbilt University, Belmont University, and MTSU. Bruce was promoted to Vice President of Operations and Regional Manager in 2000. It was also in 2000 that Bruce received CSC’s Branch Manager of the Year Award for his exemplary leadership and success in the Nashville branch office. Bruce continues to travel throughout the U.S. in order to oversee CSC’s operations and to assist with staff training and the opening of new offices and venues. Bruce attended Santa Ana College in California.

Agent, CAA

Bryan began his career in music after moving to Nashville in 1994 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Business, Recording, and Production from The University of Alabama and an Associate degree in Recording Engineering from Full Sail University. In 1998, he was invited to help grow the Contemporary Christian music roster for CAA. More than 19 years later, he and his team enjoy working alongside some of the biggest artists in the genre including Chris Tomlin, Tobymac, Steven Curtis Chapman, Third Day, Danny Gokey, Passion, and many others. For two years, Bryan sat on the board of Porter’s Call, a counseling service for musicians who make their living on the road. He is also closely involved with Food For The Hungry in helping end poverty around the world and has been to Ethiopia and the Dominican Republic to further those efforts.

Director of Booking, The Original Harlem Globetrotters

Casey Gray has been working in Booking and Operations for family touring events for the last 13 years. Currently with The Original Harlem Globetrotters as the Director of Booking he started his career at VEE Corporation working as a Road Manager (My Little Pony, Sesame Street Live, Care Bears and Dragon Tales), Booking Manager and then the Director of Operations. In February 2016 he left his job at VEE to work with the iconic Harlem Globetrotters.  He graduated from Indiana University (go Hoosiers!) in a previous decade with a degree in Theatre. When he is not hopelessly failing to spin a basketball on his finger, he enjoys spending time with his beautiful bride traveling and relaxing.

Manager of Festival Success, TicketFly

With over 13 years of experience in the industry, Cassie knows how to ticket an event. She began as a box office manager, later moving to Ticketmaster to represent a variety of festival, amphitheater, arena, club, and comedy events. She soon came to specialize in her true passion, music festivals, with work on events such as Outside Lands, Treasure Island, and Life is Beautiful. Eager to continue pursuing this market, Cassie came to Ticketfly to lead the growing Festival Success team.

Cassie holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Music Industry from California State University, Chico. Aside from her work with Ticketfly’s festival partners, she has also spoken on Wild Oak Records’ Oakstock music industry panel and has lectured as part of the Bay Area Professional Ticketing Association’s professional development series.

Director of Public Safety, Nashville Predators

Chad Ludkey is the Director of Public Safety for the Nashville Predators and Bridgestone Arena. He is responsible for the 24/7 security operation of the facility as well as the security for all events held at the arena. He joined the Predators organization in 2015 and was responsible for security oversight of the 2016 NHL All Star Game, the first ever all-star game held at the arena. He received the NCS4 2016 Industry Leader Under 40 Award from the NHL. Bridgestone Arena also received the NCS4 2017 Facility of Merit award for safety and security from the NHL. Chad has been in the events and security industry since 1998 and has held positions with the Houston Astros, University of Phoenix Stadium, Rose Quarter and the Arizona State University Athletic Department.

General Manager, Augusta Entertainment Complex

Chris Bird is the General Manager of the Augusta Entertainment Complex in Augusta, GA. His responsibilities include managing and programing for two venues: the 8,000 seat James Brown Arena and the 2,800 seat Bell Auditorium. Some of the highlights from Mr. Bird’s last three years in Augusta include: increased concerts by 30%, best complex financial performance 2 years in a row, and Bell Auditorium is the top grossing venue in GA outside of metro-ATL. Chris Bird is a member of IAVM and received his B.S. in Sport and Entertainment Management from the University of South Carolina.

Sustainable Design Leader, Sport + Recreation + Entertainment | Vice President, HOK

As a project leader and the sustainable design leader for HOK’s Sports + Recreation + Entertainment practice, Chris DeVolder has more than 20 years of experience designing environmentally responsible facilities for sports, civic, commercial and residential markets. Known for his thought leadership in the green sports movement, Chris has led sustainability initiatives and the LEED certification process for projects throughout the US and Canada. His creative and technical skills have advanced the way the design profession approaches sports venues, not just in the design and construction process, but with sustainable operations and programming as well.

Chris’ expertise and commitment to sustainable design has shaped notable facilities and districts including the University of Washington’s Husky Stadium Renovation, MetLife Stadium and Southern Methodist University’s Moody Coliseum Renovation. Currently, he is the sustainability project director on Mercedes-Benz Stadium, the new home of the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons, and Rogers Place, an arena for the NHL’s Edmonton Oilers, as well as the project leader for the sports-related components of Notre Dame’s $400 million Campus Crossroads project. Chris also serves as the co-leader of HOK’s soccer market, working with clients across North and South America.

As co-chair of the Green Sports Alliance Corporate Membership Network Steering Committee and the USGBC National LEED User Group for sports venue development, Chris is focused on redefining sustainability and best practices within the profession. In addition, he recently led the Council for Responsible Sport green certification of the WinforKC Triathlon in Kansas City for the third consecutive year.

Chris’ work in sustainable sports facility design has been recognized internationally by publications like The Philosophy of Sustainable Design, Sports Illustrated, Greenability, Sports Business Journal and Stadia. A frequent speaker, Chris has presented with organizations like the USGBC, The Canadian GBC, The Green Sports Alliance, and most recently, at COP21, the United Nation’s Framework Convention on Climate Change in Paris. In addition, he is a fellow and lecturer at Presidio’s MBA Course on sports and sustainability and is a graduate of the Kansas City Chamber’s Centurions Leadership Program.

Prior to joining HOK, Chris was a project leader with 360 Architecture and a project architect with Ellerbe Becket. He has a Bachelor of Architecture and graduate studies from the University of Kansas.

Assistant General Manager / Director of Finance, INTRUST Bank Arena, an SMG managed facility

Chris Kibler is the Assistant General Manager / Director of Finance for INTRUST Bank Arena and The Orpheum Theatre, both SMG Managed Facilities. She is responsible for all of the financial and accounting aspects of the arena and theatre as well as event settlements with show promoters. Additionally, Chris assists in the operation and management of the facility and leads several committees focusing on improving the guest experience at INTRUST Bank Arena. Prior to joining SMG in May, 2009 she was an Audit Manager with Ernst & Young, LLP.

Additionally, giving back to her community is a priority and she is currently the immediate Past-President for East Wichita Rotary, serves on the Operations Committee for Life Church - Wichita, and is an active member of the Operations Committee for Wichita River Festival. Chris is also active in the industry as an IAVM member, she is a 2012 graduate of Venue Management School and has served on the Venue Connect planning committee. Chris is a certified public accountant (CPA) in the State of Kansas and holds a Bachelors Degree in Marketing and Management from Kansas State University and a Bachelors Degree in Accounting from Wichita State University.

Away from work, you will find Chris spending time with her husband, Scott, at El Dorado or Table Rock Lake, cheering on the Kansas City Royals, going to concerts, and traveling. In her down time, she enjoys running, reading, and listening to music.

2synergize, Inc. and Consultant for DI/IAVM City Pairs Task Force

Christine “Shimo” Shimasaki, CDME, CMP of 2Synergize, Inc., is a passionate advocate of convention and visitors bureaus. For the past eight years, Shimo has been a full-time consultant for DMAI, managing empowerMINT and the Event Impact Calculator and providing leadership and guidance to the CVB industry with specific meetings market issues and opportunities.

Shimo’s 35-years in the travel industry includes Marriott Hotels & Resorts and the San Diego Convention and Visitors Bureau. Under 2synergize, Inc., she will continue to help CVBs achieve competitive advantages, community collaboration, strong customer relationships and high performing sales and service teams.

Principal, Corbin Ball & Co.

Corbin Ball, CSP, CMP is an internationally recognized expert on technology. His articles have appeared in hundreds of national in international publications and he has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, USAToday and US News & World Report. He was recently named as one of "The 25 Most Influential People in the Meetings Industry" by Successful Meetings and MeetingNews magazines, the fifth time he has been so named. Corbin has spoken to groups in 33 countries, on five continents in a manner that is engaging, understandable and fun. Corbin is the only person to have received both MPI’s International Supplier of the Year and MPI’s International Chapter Leader of the Year award. He can be contacted at is extensive website: and followed on

VP, Communications and Strategic Client Solutions, The Expo Group

Dana has worked in the trade show space for 16 years, all the while growing The Expo Group. She has a passion for creating fascinating experiences born in her days working at Disneyland and a solid communications background forged in the newspaper industry. She earned bachelor of arts degrees in journalism and in history from Southern Methodist University. Dana loves community building, finding innovative solutions, Pittsburgh sports teams, margaritas and improv comedy.

Chief Executive Officer, San Mateo County Event Center and Fair

Dana Stoehr brings a depth experience in management of venues, events, fairs, and festivals. Her portfolio also includes public land use, food and beverage concessions, and non-profit organizations. She is passionate about the venue, fair and festival industry, with over 26 years of experience.

She is known to be a high integrity, energetic and results driven leader with the ability to envision and build successful outcomes in complex situations. She is committed to her staff, organization, and community. She has served on many non-profit boards relative to the Fair and Events industries. Dana has served both as the San Mateo County Event Center and Fair CEO since January 2017 and as the Assistant General Manager since 2006. Previous to joining San Mateo she was the Event Sales and Services Manager for the Alameda County Fair from 2000-2006. She has been a member of IAVM since 2005. In 2016 she accepted the position of Chair for the Amphitheaters and Fairgrounds sector within IAVM. She is also passionate about her large family which includes a husband, five children, and 5.2 grandchildren.

Sports Architect, Heery International

Dane is responsible for design, production, and development of athletic facility projects. He is involved in all phases of the design and construction process and has in-depth experience in facilitating design from abstract concepts to construction documentation. Dane is leading the charge as the Project for the redevelopment and repurposing of Turner Field into GSU Stadium. He has been intimately involved from the initial feasibility studies through project implementation for Phase I. Dane has immersed himself in the culture and identity of Panthers Athletics in order to ensure that the design achieves the project goals.

Dane has a Master’s Degree in Architecture from Georgia Tech and a Bachelor’s Degree in Architecture from the University of Florida. He has worked on 25+ sports projects across the country.

CEO, National Shows 2 (NS2)

Darin Lashinsky, a Los Angeles native and third generation concert promoter, is the CEO of National Shows 2, LLC (NS2). In 1998, Lashinsky helped launch Outback Concerts and later became the Sr. Vice President until he left in 2010 to form NS2 with business partners Larry and Fred Frank, of Frank Productions, Inc. Prior to his 12-year stint at Outback Concerts, Lashinsky spent 6 years working at his father’s Nashville based concert promotion company. NS2 pays homage to the original National Shows, which was owned and operated by his late father, Philip, and uncle Gary. Lashinsky has promoted artists of all music genres including: Kings of Leon, Alison Krauss & Union Station, Tim McGraw & Faith Hill, Avenged Sevenfold, Alan Jackson, Keith Urban, Aerosmith, Aretha Franklin, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Muse, Zac Brown Band, Metallica, John Prine, Green Day, Motley Crue, The Black Keys, Dolly Parton, Jason Isbell, KISS and many more. NS2, together with partner Frank Productions, Inc. of Madison, WI, has promoted numerous artist’s arena tours throughout the country including: Brantley Gilbert, Eric Church, Five Finger Death Punch, Avenged Sevenfold, Cage the Elephant, KISS and Shinedown/Breaking Benjamin. Lashinsky served on the Country Music Association Board of Directors in 2013 and 2014 and currently serves on the IEBA Board of Directors. He has been nominated four times for the Academy of Country Music “Promoter of the Year Award,” as well as the “Pollstar Bill Graham Promoter of the Year Award” from 2011-2016. He was also nominated for the International Entertainment Buyers Association “Promoter of the Year” award from 2012-2015 and received the award in 2016. Lashinsky is a 2006 Leadership Music alumnus and he participates each year in various panel discussions for conferences such as IEBA, Pollstar, IAVM, Leadership Music and Billboard. Lashinsky continues to be active in the community and supports several charitable and non-profit organizations, including the Nashville Humane Association. Darin and son Philip, currently live in Brentwood, TN.

Senior Correspondent, Billboard

After a decade as an award-winning reporter and managing editor for trade publication Venues Today, Dave ventured out on his own in 2014 to start Amplify, a member-driven news service covering the live music and concert industry. In 2015 he created The Real in Pollstar, building the magazine's first and most widely read column dedicated to investigative journalism. In 2017, Dave joined forces with Billboard, the world’s largest music brand, where today he works as a senior correspondent while continuing to oversee the editorial management and day-to-day responsibilities of Amplify Media. He lives in Long Beach, Calif., with his wife Kristen, son Wesley and dog Bandit. Dave is a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz.

Event and Facility Operations Manager, Kennesaw State University Sports and Entertainment

David Bennett is the Event and Facility Operations Manager for Kennesaw State University’s Department of Sports and Entertainment. He supervises event logistics, facility operations, and security management for multiple venues across two campuses, including the KSU Sports and Entertainment Park and Fifth Third Bank Stadium. Regular events include KSU Football, Soccer, and Lacrosse, Major League Lacrosse (Atlanta Blaze), Concerts, Tournaments, and Festivals. Prior to working at Kennesaw State, David served as the Associate Director of Facilities and Operations at Clemson University, and the Technical Operations Coordinator at the Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte, North Carolina.

David holds both a Bachelor of Science in Management and a Master of Business Administration from Clemson University. He recently earned the Certified Venue Professional designation and was recognized as a member of the International Association of Venue Manager’s 30 Under 30 Class of 2016. David is also a graduate of IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety and Security, and is active on the University Committee.

Senior Director of Operations, AT&T Center

David has been in the facility management industry for over 30 years and is currently the Senior Director of Operations at the Spurs Sports and Entertainment’s AT&T Center in San Antonio. Before coming to the AT&T Center in 2015, David was the Director of Operations at the SMG Chesapeake Energy Arena and the Cox Convention Center in Oklahoma City and SMG’s Regional Director of Operations for the Central Region. David began his career as the Building Manager of the Mabee Center on the campus of Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, OK where he also oversaw 30 other university facilities as the VP for Operations. After leaving ORU, David worked three years as the CFO of LeSEA Global Feed the Hungry, an international charity, and the LeSEA Radio/Television Broadcast Network in South Bend, Indiana. David has a degree in Telecommunication and a Master’s degree in Business Finance. Over the years, he has also worked part time as a Site Manager and Production Coordinator for Encore Productions for Promise Keeper stadium events, concerts, and trade shows.

David has been a member of IAVM for over 30 years representing District VI as their Vice President, being on the Board of Trustees for the IAVM Foundation, and earning his CFE. David also has certifications from IFMA as a Facility Management Professional (FMP) and Sustainability Facility Manager (SFP). David and Elizabeth have four sons and one grandson.

Agent, WME IMG

David Huntzinger is a WME IMG agent who spearheads talent representation for esports clients while working with some of the largest professional gaming teams, broadcasters, and influencers in the space. In his role, he sits at the intersection of esports and traditional entertainment by developing the brand equity and content strategy of clients, as well as packaging content for distribution across all forms of media. By leveraging his background in music booking, Huntzinger utilizes a comprehensive understanding of traditional forms of entertainment and events to develop the future of esports. As a lifelong gamer, he grew up experiencing the successes and pitfalls of the esports industry’s early development and seeks to marry that knowledge with his professional experience.

Huntzinger graduated with a BBA in Brand Engagement and Promotions from Baylor University and currently resides in Los Angeles. In his free time, he likes to watch baseball to try to relive his college glory days as well as climb the League of Legends and Counter-Strike competitive ladders.

SVP of Booking, Bridgestone Arena / Nashville Predators

David Kells (Twitter: @DKnaround) has been with Bridgestone Arena and the Nashville Predators since 2005. During his tenure he has served as the Conversion Manager, Event Manager, Director of Marketing and is currently the Senior Vice President of Booking.

David quickly developed a passion for live entertainment after working his first concert at the age of 18. Over the course of his career he has worked for SFX Entertainment, Great Big Shows, and AC Entertainment. David has been involved in producing such festivals as Dancin' In the District (Nashville, TN), Nashville River Stages (Nashville, TN), Sundown in the City (Knoxville, TN), Sewanee Bound Music Festival (Live Oak, FL) and Birmingham City Stages (Birmingham, AL).

In addition to helping oversee Bridgestone Arena’s rise to one of the top venues in the U.S. and the 2014 Pollstar Arena of the Year award, Kells has received personal recognition for his hard work in the industry. Most recently, Kells was named the International Arena Buyers Association’s Venue Executive of the Year and nominated for Pollstar’s Facility Executive of the Year. A lover of hockey from a young age, David’s hockey career peaked in 1980 when he received the Most Improved Player Award from the Massena Minor Hockey Association.

David is a proud resident of Inglewood, where he resides with his wife Lucy and daughter Kathryn.

Senior Park Manager, Fair Park Dallas

Dee Ann Hirsch is the Senior Park Manager at Fair Park Dallas. An experienced professional with 20+ years in sports, festivals, tradeshows, facilities and marketing management, Mrs. Hirsch currently oversees Event Services, Grounds Services, Facility Services, Business Services, and historic Cotton Bowl Stadium. In her capacity, she has extensive experience working with a variety of stakeholders including board members, city staff, elected/appointed officials, regulatory departments, clients, vendors, and volunteers.

Prior to her work with the City, Mrs. Hirsch served as a private contractor overseeing large tradeshows and sporting events. Mrs. Hirsch also previously worked with Anthony Travel, The Salesmanship Club of Dallas (HP Byron Nelson, Championship), and Baylor University Athletics. She received her undergraduate degree in Marketing and International Business from Baylor University and Master’s Degree in Sports Administration from Ohio University.

Event Services Supervisor, 22nd DAA/San Diego County Fairgrounds

Dennis Robbins has been in the Event Industry for 28 years. He worked at the San Diego Convention Center as a Senior Event Manager. The last 17 years he has worked at the Del Mar Fairgrounds as the Event Services Supervisor, supervising Five Event Managers.

Vice President, Sales, Etix

Dennis Scanlon is an entertainment industry veteran with 33 years’ ticketing experience serving an extensive variety of local, regional, and national clients in sports, concerts, attractions, and performing arts. In 1982, Dennis began his career at The Cincinnati Reds in the Season Ticket Office. Dennis launched his career at Ticketmaster as General Manager Ohio, Kentucky, and West Virginia growing the market from 1 to 47 clients selling over 2.25 million tickets annually. He joined Ticketmaster’s technology team in 1998 introducing wireless access control to venues throughout the United States. In 2000, Dennis was promoted to Vice President, Advanced Product Sales where he led total business acquisition and retention paradigm for Division 1 college athletics and other Advanced Product opportunities. Under his leadership, Dennis and his team secured 76 new national customers within 6 years maintaining 71% win ratio, resulting in 64.7% gross profit (compared to 43% core business profit margin), and raised Internet sell through to 81%. Dennis recently joined Etix as Senior Executive Sales, Emerging Verticals and is focused on introducing Etix throughout North America. In 2014, Dennis was promoted to Vice President, Sales.  IAVM, Sports and Entertainment Venues of Tomorrow, Johnson and Wales University, and a variety of other conferences and seminars.

Chief Executive Officer, Sink Combs Dethlefs

Donald Dethlefs, FAIA has built a reputation as one the of the premier designers of arena and entertainment venues in the nation. Don understands that an economically viable facility must have the capacity to host athletic events, yet also requires the flexibility to accommodate a variety of other functions throughout the year. He understands the needs of the spectators and facility users and works to ensure that each venue accommodates the wants and needs of each diverse group of patrons. Don has a very specialized understanding of this project type and has been personally involved in nearly every one of the firm’s 50+ arena projects.

Senior Vice President of Arena & Events Operations, and General Manager, Hornets Sports & Entertainment

Donna is the lead executive for Spectrum Center since its inception, construction and grand opening in 2005 (then Charlotte Bobcats Arena). Today, she is Hornets Sports and Entertainment’s Senior Vice President of Arena & Event Operations and Spectrum Center General Manager. HSE is the parent company of the Charlotte Hornets (NBA) and Greensboro Swarm (NBDL) and operates the 19,000-seat Spectrum Center. She is overseeing a $27.5 million Arena Enhancement Plan which includes a new state-of-the art scoreboard. Over her 30+ year career in the sports and entertainment business, she has hosted a multitude of events including NCAA Basketball Tournaments and 2012 Democratic National Convention. Prior coming to Charlotte she worked for SMG as the General Manager of the Baltimore Arena. She is on the Executive Committee of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Charlotte and is a member of the Women’s InterCultural Exchange and the Charlotte Women’s Executive Organization. She was selected to the Charlotte Business Journal’s 2016 Class of Women in Business and BizWomen’s Women to Watch. In 2017, Venues Today Women of Influence, Charlotte Mecklenburg Times’ 50 Most Influential Women and North Carolina Women’s History Month Leadership Action Award.

Senior Associate AD/Chief of Staff, Athletics Department, Georgia State University

Doug Justice joined the Georgia State Athletics Department in September 2014 and serves as Senior Associate A.D. and Chief of Staff. Previously Justice spent nine years as an athletics staff member at Appalachian State working closely with current Georgia State Director of Athletics Charlie Cobb. He started at Appalachian State in 2006 as director of game operations and was promoted to Assistant AD/Chief of Staff in 2012. In 2014, he was promoted to associate athletics director.

In that role, Justice oversaw Appalachian State's game operations, strength and conditioning, athletic training and team services. He also served as the administrator for wrestling and men's and women's basketball.

Prior to his arrival at Appalachian State, Justice was a four-year football letterwinner at North Carolina from 2002 to 2005. To cap his career, Justice became the first football student-athlete in North Carolina history to earn academic All-ACC recognition four times. Justice graduated from UNC in 2005 after majoring in communications and psychology. He earned a master’s degree in Public Administration from Appalachian State in 2009.

A native of Manheim, Pa., Justice is married to the former Erin Griswold. Together they have two sons: Kevin and Eliott.

Research Staff Member/ IDA Project Lead, SAFETY Act Task, Institute for Defense Analyses

Laura Itle graduated from the University of Iowa in 2001 with a Bachelor’s of Science in Chemical and Biochemical Engineering. At Iowa, she conducted research in insect-cell bioreactors on campus and completed a research fellowship in science policy at Department of Energy headquarters. She continued her education at the Pennsylvania State University, developing whole-cell biosensors and microdevices for rapid pharmaceutical and pathogen screening. Laura completed graduate studies in 2005, receiving a Doctor of Philosophy in Chemical Engineering with a specialization in Biomolecular Transport Dynamics. Dr. Itle is also an alumna of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Seminar XXI (Foreign Politics, International Relations, and the National Interest) Program (2011).

Following graduation, Dr. Itle joined the Institute for Defense Analyses (IDA), a Federally-Funded Research and Development Center, that conducts independent, in-depth analyses of government programs, military technologies, and homeland security programs. She primarily works in the areas of chemical-biological defense, chemical demilitarization, public health, and homeland security and technology development and policy. In 2007, she assumed the role of Deputy Project Lead (and later Project Lead in 2016) for IDA’s analytical support of the SAFETY Act, a portion of the Homeland Security Act of 2002 that provides a series of risk, liability, and litigation management techniques for the providers and users of anti-terrorism technologies. Her current work with the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) focuses on security and anti-terrorism practices, programs, and training, as well as emergency response protocols, for stadia/arenas and other critical infrastructure. Additionally, she is working with DHS on analytical methods to assess the cybersecurity posture of energy providers and distributors. Dr. Itle’s non-task research interests include the economic benefits of non-regulation, STEM workforce development and retention, and the linkages between mental illness and self-radicalization.

Rowan Cabarrus Community College

Dusty Saine is a graduate of Clemson University with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing.  He is in his  13th year of membership with the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and is currently serving as the Universities committee chair.  He is also a graduate from Public Assembly Facility Management School and the Academy of Venue Safety and Security. He has received training certificates from the Department of Homeland Security, FEMA and local law enforcement organizations.  Currently, Dusty works at Rowan Cabarrus Community College managing major events, campus operations, emergency preparedness, and special projects. Prior to his job here at Rowan-Cabarrus, he managed Clemson University’s Littlejohn Coliseum, a medium sized multi-purpose arena.  He is an experienced professional in facility management, operations, marketing, contract negotiation, staff training and booking talent.  Dusty oversaw and directed numerous concerts, sporting events, trade shows, galas, and festivals.   Dusty booked, hosted and oversaw the inaugural Zac Brown Band Music and Food festival and promoted Eric Church’s first ever headline arena date.  You can contact Dusty at

Managing Principal, HR&A Advisors, Inc.

As the Managing Principal of HR&A Advisors's Texas office, Elissa Hoagland Izmailyan leads community and economic development advisory projects throughout the southwest U.S. HR&A is a national real estate, economic, and policy advisory company that brings together the public, private, and nonprofit sectors to realize transformative urban projects. Elissa has served in multiple roles at HR&A since she joined the firm’s New York office in 2011, and has managed projects that include: creating an economic development strategy for San Antonio’s Eastside, a 21-square mile federally-designated Promise Zone; developing an implementation strategy for the award-winning Phoenix Hance Park; and creating a business plan to support significant capital investment in the 4,000-acre Shelby Farms Park in Memphis. Elissa brings a deep personal commitment to the equity, vitality, and sustainability of cities through her professional and civic life. She serves on the Advisory Board of Public-Private Real Estate Professionals, a professional development organization in New York City, on the Boards of East Fort Worth Inc. and the Friends of the Santa Fe Trail. Prior to joining HR&A, she conducted economic analysis as part of the Trust for Public Land’s Center for City Park Excellence. Elissa holds a B.A. in Economics from Brown University.

Assistant General Manager, Los Angeles Convention Center

Ellen Schwartz, Assistant General Manager for the Los Angeles Convention Center (managed by AEG Facilities) is a dynamic industry professional with more than 40 years in the trade show and events industry. Schwartz has been part of the AEG team since October 2013 helping to lead the successful transition from public to private management of the Los Angeles Convention Center.

Ellen joined LACC as the VP Sales and Marketing and became the AGM in July 2016. Prior to joining AEG, Ellen served as Senior Director of Sales and Marketing at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center/SMG and prior to that, Schwartz served as Director of Sales for the Miami Beach Convention Center/SMG. Before heading to the facility side of the business, Schwartz was the Vice President and Show Manager for the Woodworking, Machinery & Furniture Supply Fair for over 8 years and grew the show to over 300,000 net sq. ft. and 18,000 attendees.

In her tenure at Centers, Ellen has contributed to many high profile events including the inaugural Microsoft Global Briefing, E3, the Los Angeles Auto Show, the Emmy and Grammy Events, Maria Shriver’s Women’s Conference, International Salon and Spa Expo, TED and numerous other large trade association, corporate and consumer events.

In 2015, Ellen received the Outstanding Achievement in Marketing and Sales award from the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). Her leadership within the industry includes currently sitting on the PCMA task force on exhibitions, Board Member of the National Association of Consumer Shows (NACS), and past service on the board of the local chapter of IAEE and participating in various industry organizations and tradeshows (IAVM, PCMA, ASAE, MPI).

Sr. Director of Client and Guest Services, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Erik Waldman, is the Senior Director of Client and Guest Services for the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA). In his role, he is overseeing event operations and guest services for the number 1 convention, sports and entertainment campus in the world.  Prior to this role, Erik oversaw event operations for the Georgia Dome and public safety for the campus.  In 2016, Erik received his Certified Facilities Executive (CFE) designation from the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM).  Prior to joining the GWCCA, Erik was the Vice President and General Manager of the BankAtlantic Center (now BB&T Center) in Sunrise, Florida.  Erik received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administrations with a major in General Management & a minor in Hospitality Management from the University of Central Florida (UCF) in August of 2002.  His career started at the Orlando Arena in 1998 as the Zamboni driver for the Orlando Solar Bears of the International Hockey League.  In 2002, Erik worked as an event coordinator for the UCF Arena where his career began to rise.  He is also a graduate of the GWCCA Senior Leadership Development Program in partnership with the University of Georgia, Terry College of Business.  In August of 2015, Erik was named Chair of the IAVM Stadium’s Committee Sector.  Erik has certifications from IAVM’s Academy for Venue Safety & Security and Venue Management School. In his free time, Erik spends time with his family, competes in triathlons and other endurance sports.

Vice President of Human Resources, Music City Center

Erin Hampton currently serves as the Vice President of Human Resources for the Music City Center. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Corporate and Organizational Communications from Western Kentucky University (WKU) in 1997. She holds certifications as a Senior Professional in Human Resources (SPHR) and SHRM-SCP and is an active member of the local chapter of Society for Human Resources Management. After thirteen years with Nashville Metropolitan Government, Ms. Hampton accepted her current role with the Music City Center where she administers recruitment, career development, training, compensation and other related Human Resources functions specific to the hospitality industry. She also manages the Music City Center’s partnership with Hunters Lane High school and works directly with high school students interested in the hospitality industry, providing job shadowing opportunities, resume writing, and assistance with development of relevant curriculum.

Director of Event Services, Oregon Convention Center

Erin Jepson, CMP, serves as the director of event services for the Oregon Convention Center in sunny Portland. Erin works with one of the best teams in the industry where she oversees the event management team and guest services department which includes, ticketing, parking and the venue’s volunteer program.

She joined the team at the Oregon Convention Center in 2013. Prior to that, she was with Walton Arts Center in Fayetteville, AR overseeing event sales and management, front of house services, concessions and festival management for Artosphere, Arkansas’ Arts and Nature festival. Erin graduated from The University of Texas in Austin with a BA in Music Studies where she focused on musicology hoping to one day be the most inspiring music history professor in the field. Instead, she strives to be the most inspiring manager in the events industry and knows she has big shoes to fill. She is a member of International Association of Venue Management (IAVM), Professional Convention Management Association (PCMA), and Event Service Professionals Association (ESPA). Erin graduated from IAVM’s Venue Management School in 2013, attended the Venue Management School Graduate Institute in 2016 and received her Certified Meetings Professional (CMP) certification in 2015 from the Convention Industry Council.

Chief Everything Officer, Frank Advice and Principal, Pinnacle Venue Services

Frank Roach is the “Chief Everything Officer” of Frank Advice through which he shares his real-life principles that led to his highly successful industry and academic career. Additionally, he is a Principal in Pinnacle Venue Services, which provides a la carte management and security services to public assembly venues. Previously, he spent 12 years as a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Sport & Entertainment Management at the University of South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina where he developed and taught courses in Event Management, Live Entertainment, and Venue Management. While there, he served as director of the “Sport, Entertainment, and Venues Tomorrow” conference as well as Interim Department Chair. Roach accepted the academic appointment following a nearly 30-year career in live events and facility management with his last posting before academia as Vice President of Venue Relations for industry giant Clear Channel Entertainment, now Live Nation Entertainment. Roach was President of TourVen, Inc., an entertainment management and marketing consulting firm, which provided tour scheduling, marketing, and consulting services for the highly successful “Barney’s Big Surprise” tour and to various other sports, entertainment, and venue operations. He was also a partner in Motorsports Entertainment Group, which is now part of the Feld Motorsports group. Roach founded TourVen, Inc. and co-founded Motorsports Entertainment Group following a two-year stay with MCA Concerts, Inc. as Vice President of Family Entertainment, where he established and directed the family touring unit, which produced and operated “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers Live.”

Prior to his posting at MCA Concerts, Frank Roach was Vice President of Routing and Tours for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Combined Shows, Inc., now Feld Entertainment. There, Roach booked and negotiated arena contracts for two units of the circus and four units of Walt Disney's World on Ice. All told, Roach has booked more than 25,000 performances in more than twenty countries around the world.

Before joining the Ringling organization, Roach was Assistant Director of Hampton Coliseum in Hampton, Virginia. During his tenure, Roach doubled the number of the Coliseum’s bookings. Roach came to the Hampton Coliseum from the city's Department of Commerce, where he was involved in convention and tourism promotion, as well as promotion of sports, concerts, and other events at the Hampton Coliseum and in other city locations.

Roach holds a Masters of Public Administration degree from Golden Gate University in San Francisco and a Bachelor of Arts degree from the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. He has been a member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) since 1976 and has served as Chair of the organization’s External Affairs Committee; Chair of the Board of Regents of the Public Assembly Facility Management School; and Chair of the Board of Trustees of the IAAM Foundation. Career awards include the Virginia Travel Council’s Meritorious Service Award (1975), City of Hampton Employee of the Year (1978), Public Assembly Facility Management School’s Ray Ward Award (1998), IAVM’s Distinguished Allied Member Award (2002), the Harry E. Varney Distinguished Teacher of the Year Award (2005 and 2012), Feld Entertainment’s Barnum Award (2010) and the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Sport, Entertainment, and Venues Tomorrow conference (2016).

He is a sought after speaker at industry conferences and has presented at the International Conference on Sport and Entertainment Business, Arena Management Conference, Arena Sales & Marketing Conference, SMG Corporate Management Meeting, IAVM’s Annual Conference, IAEM’s Mid-Year Meeting, University Venue Management Conference, and IAVM District Conferences. He has twice served as Keynote speaker at the Venue Management Association (Asia & Pacific) Annual Congress and delivered the keynote address at the 2005 University Venue Management Conference and at the 2007 Collegiate Athletic Operations Seminar. He has authored articles for Australian Leisure, Facility Manager, and Stadia magazines.

Assistant Athletic Director, University of Delaware

Frantzer serves as Assistant Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations at the University of Delaware.  In this position, he oversee the day to day operations of the Bob Carpenter Center, which is a 5,500 seat Arena that host over 450 events per year with over 700,000 guest each year. Frantzer oversees 3 full time employees and over 120 part-time employees. He also oversees the event management team for all events and serves as event manager for all concerts, shows, major events and Men’s and Women’s basketball games. He also oversees all technology and audiovisual operations, capital projects for the Arena, maintain the building practice, meeting and event schedules, oversee all of the set-ups and breakdowns for every event.  Frantzer also serves on the Guest services and Revenue generating committees within the Athletic department. He also serves on the University committee for the International Association for Venue Managers. Prior to working at Delaware University, Frantzer worked with Facilities and Operations at the Hofstra University, Wagner College and American University. Frantzer received his Bachelor degree from Temple University where he studies Sport and Recreation management and he earned his MBA from Wagner College with a concentration in management.

Senior Vice President, Rosser International, Inc.

During his 43-year career as an architect, Fred Krenson has made significant contributions to the way sports and exhibition facilities are designed. He has been at the forefront of the industry for collegiate sports facilities, setting trends and designing facilities that help universities achieve goals for recruiting staff and athletes, generating revenue and achieving national stature.

As a senior vice president of Rosser International, Inc., a 70-year-old architecture, engineering and program management firm, Fred is responsible for the design, production and management of sports-and public assembly projects.

His extensive sports design experience includes stadia, arenas and recreational facilities for university, government, private and public sector clients. Fred is known for his ability to help clients assess their needs for sports facilities and find creative solutions within tight constraints. In addition to the design and expansion of Papa John’s Stadium at the University of Louisville, Fred’s credits include the Infinite Energy Center in Gwinnett County, Georgia, a project that was designated the “Deal of the Year” by the Atlanta Business Chronicle. He also was the designer behind the renovated Gallagher-Iba Arena at Oklahoma State University, which was rated the number one Collegiate Basketball Arena. His design credits also include the Colonial Life Center at the University of South Carolina and United Spirit Arena at Texas Tech University.

He received his Bachelor Degree in Architecture from Rice University and is certified by the National Council of Architectural Registration Boards (NCARB).

Deputy Director, Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA)

Fred Peterson has been with the Massachusetts Convention Center Authority (MCCA) for over 19 years and currently serves as Deputy Director. Fred works with the Executive Director to provide strategic leadership while managing and coordinating the goals and policies of the organization. Additionally, he manages facility operations across the MCCA’s four Boston venues and the MassMutual Center in Springfield.

Throughout his 19-year career with the MCCA, Fred has held a number of roles including Community Liaison, Director of Business Government & Community Relations, Deputy COO and Interim Executive Director from July-December 2015.

Fred is active within many industry associations including IAEE, PCMA, and AIPC. He has also served on the Board of Directors and a variety of committees within IAVM and ESCA. Locally, he is Chair of the Seaport Transportation Management Association and a board member of A Better City, Back Bay Association, Greater Springfield Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, Western MA Sports Commission, South Boston Neighborhood House and the Friends of Fort Point Channel.

Fred holds a BA degree in Political Science from Merrimack College. He is a graduate of IAVM’s Venue Management School, UMass Boston Emerging Leaders Program and a 2017 graduate of SES.

Promoter, Outback Concerts

Georges Sulmers has been a promoter for Outback Concerts since 2003, where he collaborates daily with venue managers to create outstanding live entertainment. Georges works directly with many University facilities, including John Paul Jones Arena, Bryce Jordan Center, Wesbanco Arena, Don Haskins Center, Emens Auditorium, and Weidner Center. Prior to joining Outback, Georges gained deeper industry perspective working for a record label and managing artists, including PM Dawn.

Corporate Executive Director of Guest Experience, MGM Resorts International

Greg Chase is the Corporate Executive Director of Guest Experience for MGM Resorts International where he is responsible for designing and implementing the transformative guest experience strategy for all MGM Resorts International properties. MGM Resorts International is a global entertainment company with national and international locations featuring best-in-class hotels and casinos, state-ofthe art meetings and conference spaces, incredible live and theatrical entertainment experiences, and an extensive array of restaurant, nightlife and retail offerings. The company is expanding throughout the U.S. and around the world, developing MGM Springfield in Massachusetts and MGM COTAI in Macau, and debuting the first international Bellagio hotel in Shanghai. For five years prior to joining MGM Resorts International, Greg held leadership positions at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida. Greg received his Master of Science in Industrial & Organizational Psychology from Capella University and his Bachelor of Science in Hotel & Restaurant Management form the University of Missouri – Columbia. He is also certified by the Protocol School of Washington as a Corporate Etiquette & International Protocol Consultant. He is also an Adjunct Faculty member of the William F. Harrah College of Hotel Administration at the University of Nevada – Las Vegas.

Senior Sales Executive, TicketForce

Heidi Robinson, a Senior Sales Executive with TicketForce, LLC, brings twenty years of experience in customer service and sales management to the podium. Having spent twelve years overseeing the Central Ticket Office at Northern Arizona University, she is well-versed in box office operations, promoter relations, and event management. She is a seasoned speaker, leading presentations on Student Employment and Promoter Relations at national conferences and participating locally in a panel discussion on Marketing Best Practices. A certified Student Success Coach™, Heidi worked one-on-one with students while at NAU to help them achieve their personal and academic potential, and uses that training during presentations and Team Meetings currently. Heidi serves the Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra on the Board of Director’s Development Committee, and previously worked in the museum field and home furnishings, rounding out her customer-focused career.
Operations and Sustainability Coordinator, Facilities & Operations, The HEAT Group

Jackie Ventura joined The Heat Group at the AmericanAirlines Arena in 2001. In her current role, Jackie monitors and tracks all aspects of the day-to-day operations of the facility including utility forecasting/tracking, labor distribution, CMMS administration, and projects and reconciles a multi-million dollar operating budget. In 2008, Jackie evaluated the NBA league-wide suggestions for viable sustainability initiatives for the AA Arena and determined that the facility would satisfy all of the requirements for LEED Existing Building: Operations and Maintenance certification. Given her history and role in the department, Jackie was able to easily manage and administer the LEED certification completely in-house and within six months from project registration to certification award only employing the assistance of key staff members and vendors as needed. This earned the Arena the distinction of being the first NBA facility to earn LEED certification in April 2009. In 2014, Jackie once again led the recertification efforts, improving the building to LEED Gold but also making the AA Arena the first sports and entertainment facility in the world to achieve LEED re-certification. Currently, Jackie reviews and recommends sustainability efforts for the facility, formalizes sustainability policies, and engages the public on the AA Arena’s efforts.

Principal, The Mackler Law Firm, PLLC

James focuses his practice on advising businesses, governments, and investors on the use of unmanned aircraft systems (UAS), commonly known as “drones”. He works with clients on various regulatory, compliance, and litigation elements of drone usage across a variety of applications including hospitality, real estate, insurance, construction, security, video production, energy, manufacturing, and surveying.

Although James continues to work in the drone industry, the majority of his time is currently devoted to his campaign for United States Senate for the State of Tennessee.

Previously, James served eight years of active duty in the U.S. Army. After spending seven years developing a successful private legal practice in Colorado, James was inspired by the events of September 11, 2001 to join the military. He spent three years as a Blackhawk helicopter pilot with the 101st Airborne Division, including a one-year deployment to Iraq. After returning from Iraq, James transferred to the Judge Advocate General (JAG) Corps, where he served as a legal adviser to high-level commanders and as a supervising criminal prosecutor. Today, he continues to serve as an attorney in the Tennessee Air National Guard, and he also holds a commercial helicopter pilot's certificate.

James has been quoted in several media outlets, including The New York Times, The Washington Post, Reuters, National Defense Magazine, The Tennessean, The Guardian, Nashville Public Radio, and local television news affiliates.

Director of Marketing, Verizon Arena

Jana DeGeorge has been Director of Marketing at Verizon Arena since 2006 and in the marketing department for 18 years. Over these 18 years she has developed a very strong working relationship with members of the print and broadcast media. Her department is responsible for social media presence of the arena and it’s events. She is also in charge of the backstage area and hospitality for all shows.

Because there are no local promoters in Arkansas, she works closely with promoters from all over the country in promoting shows at this 18,000 seat arena.

Jana’s favorite and first concert to attend was The Eagles in Madison Square Garden.

Director of Production and Building Services, Des Moines Performing Arts

Janet Albanese is the Director of Production and Building Services for Des Moines Performing Arts. As a native Iowan, Janet is happy to be back in her home state after working on both coasts as a Production Manager at Williamstown Theatre Festival (Asst PM), CSULB, and Cal Rep, and as Stage Manager for Los Angeles Shakespeare Festival and Cornell University. Janet has taught at Drake University, GrandView University, Cal State Long Beach, and Truman State University. Janet holds an MFA in Stage Management and an MA in Theatre History from University of Illinois @ Urbana-Champaign and a BA in Theatre and BA in Religion from St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN. She is married to magician Patrick Albanese (of the Magic Castle in Hollywood, CA and the comedy Triple Espresso) and is so grateful he understands the world of production! They have two ridiculously talented and mischievous children: Ellie (8) and EJ (7). Right now, Janet feels that every bit of her life is “magical” – personally – wife and mom to an amazing family and professionally – working at such a world-class facility bringing Broadway and other live performance to Des Moines.

Sales Manager, US Testing Equipment, Ltd

An over 19 year security industry veteran Jason Allen started his career in the United State Marine Corps specializing in Anti-Terrorism Force Protection in the Middle East with the Marine Corps Security Guard program. After serving in the military, Jason moved on to the private sector working as a manager for Securitas Security Services were he provided guard services, armed protection and training services for a number of private industry customers ranging from high tech companies to consumer apparel.

For the last 10 years Jason has worked with US Testing Equipment as the current Sales Manager and Special Projects Manager. US Testing Equipment is a leader in Security Screening Technology solutions this includes everything from Walk Thru Metal Detection, Under Vehicle Inspection Systems, ETD (explosives trace detection), AT X-Ray, Whole Body Imaging, Cargo Screening Technologies for containers, and other detection systems. Over the years Jason has worked on providing solutions for everything from the US Open for Tennis, PGA Golf events, regulatory aviation programs, sporting events, concerts Events and specialized government programs.

Jason also has had the distinct privilege to conduct many national program roll outs and has firsthand knowledge regarding some of the challenges and benefits that comes with screening the public at small and large events. He focuses on a total solution from equipment selection, staff training and program management to be a true all in one provider. Jason has also become and Allied Member of IAVM and has completed year 1 of the AVSS program being more involved in the IAVM community to better understand the emerging security needs of the Industry.

General Manager, John Paul Jones Arena/University of Virginia in Charlottesville

Jason Pedone discovered Sports and Facilities Management as an undergrad at the University of Tennessee and has since enjoyed a rewarding 15+ year career with LMI/SMG in venue management. Jason currently serves as General Manager for John Paul Jones Arena on the grounds of the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. JPJ Arena is the largest arena in Virginia, home to University of Virginia Basketball, and the site of many major concerts and other live entertainment events. Jason currently serves on the Universities Committee, is a Mentor for IAVM and graduated from VMS in 2008. Before moving to Charlottesville, Jason was Director of Event Services for NRG Park in Houston and Event Manager for Bridgestone Arena in Nashville.

President & CEO, Kentucky Venues

As President and CEO of Kentucky Venues, Rittenberry oversees the operations of the Kentucky International Convention Center and the Kentucky Exposition Center. Prior to his current role, Rittenberry served as Chief Strategy Officer (CSO) for Circuit of The Americas in Austin, TX and is the former President and CEO of IRG Sports + Entertainment, a privately held company with multiple entertainment and sports properties across the country.

A Certified Facilities Executive™ by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Rittenberry is a graduate of the University of Memphis, the Venue Management School and the Academy for Venue Safety and Security. An active industry representative, he has served IAVM in several leadership roles including the Board of Directors, Past-Chair of the Board of Trustees, Industry Affairs Council, Stadiums Committee and the Fairs and Amphitheaters Committee. In addition to IAVM, Rittenberry is an active member of the Stadium Managers Association, International Entertainment Buyers Association, and past chair of the Florida Facility Managers Association. As President and CEO of Kentucky Venues, Rittenberry serves in the Tourism, Arts and Heritage Cabinet for the Commonwealth of Kentucky.

Senior Associate Director of Athletics / Facilities, Max Sports Complex

Jay Artinian is the senior associate athletic director for facilities at Hofstra, a position that he has held since 2007. He is responsible for the maintenance and operation of all 11 athletic facilities on campus as well as seven natural grass practice fields. During the 2012 Presidential Debate at Hofstra Artinian served as the director of internal operations, acting as the liaison between the University and the Commission on Presidential Debates and the U.S. Secret Service. He had served as the assistant director of internal operations during the 2008 Presidential Debate. Artinian has also served as tournament director for three NCAA Lacrosse Quarterfinals, three NCAA Softball Regionals, two NCAA Soccer Tournament Championships and one NCAA Lacrosse First Round contest as well as numerous conference championship events. A 2000 graduate of Hofstra with a degree in marketing, Artinian played for three seasons on the Hofstra Men’s Lacrosse team and was part of Hofstra’s NCAA Tournament team in 1999. He was hired as an event coordinator in the facilities department after graduation and has worked in the department ever since. A native Long Islander, Artinian was born in Huntington, New York, currently resides in Massapequa, New York.

CEO & Governor, Los Angeles Lakers

Entering her fifth season as Chief Executive Officer after 15 seasons as Executive Vice President of Business Operations, Jeanie Buss is now responsible for running all aspects of the Los Angeles Lakers organization. Buss, who will continue to lead all Lakers business operations, which include managing team marketing and sponsorships as well as relationships with broadcast partners, will also oversee the team’s basketball operations, working closely with President of Basketball Operations Earvin “Magic” Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka.

In addition to her role as CEO, Buss also serves as the Lakers’ Governor, representing the team on the NBA’s Board of Governors. She is currently a member of the NBA Advisory and Finance Committee and has served on the NBA Labor Committee during collective bargaining with the NBA Players Association.

Buss, who spent four years serving as President of the Great Western Forum before joining the Lakers, began her career at the age of 19 as general manager of World Team Tennis' Los Angeles Strings. While guiding the team to two league titles, she also created the Forum Tennis Challenge Series which became a regular part of the Great Western Forum calendar for years. Buss was responsible for bringing in players such as John McEnroe, Pete Sampras, Andre Agassi, Jimmy Connors, Steffi Graff, Chris Evert, Martina Navratilova and many other top professionals.

In 1993, Buss brought professional roller hockey to Los Angeles as the owner of the Los Angeles Blades. Her outstanding leadership and dedication earned her Executive of the Year honors by Roller Hockey International. Buss is also using her considerable experience to lead a revival of WOW-Women of Wrestling featuring female superheroes in the ring.

Named by the Sports Business Journal in October of 2011 as one of the Game Changers-Women in Sports Business, Buss serves as a board member on the Southern California Committee for the Olympic Games working to bring the Olympics back to Los Angeles. She also is a co-host of Lakers All Access, a yearly event presented by the LA Sports and Entertainment Commission, a nonprofit organization which draws events and attractions to Los Angeles.

Actively involved in the community, Buss lists Canine Companions for Independence, The Amanda Foundation and the Best Buddies organization among her many charitable endeavors while also working internally with the Lakers Youth Foundation to raise money for Southern California Youth charities.

Buss graduated from the University of Southern California with a degree in business. She currently resides in Manhattan Beach.

Director, Championships and Alliances, NCAA

Jeff Jarnecke joined the NCAA in November, 2005 originally overseeing the creative efforts, branding and marketing for the Association. Three years later he joined the championships staff overseeing multiple championships, including at various points, DI women’s soccer, DII field hockey, DII and DIII women’s lacrosse, DII men’s basketball, DI, DII and DIII men’s lacrosse and DI wrestling.

Jarnecke currently oversees the corporate relationships, branding, marketing, fan engagement and community relations for NCAA championships. He is also responsible for strategic planning, site selection and financial management of the department. Jarnecke was awarded the NCAA President’s Award, the highest honor bestowed annually to an NCAA employee, as well as the Indiana Business Journal 40 Under 40 honor and Connect Sports Innovation Award and 40 Under 40 recognition.

Before joining the NCAA, Jarnecke oversaw the marketing and events of the IU Natatorium on the campus of IUPUI, as well as the management of the IU Michael A. Carroll Track and Soccer Stadium. His efforts included working and leading numerous events from USA Swimming, USA Diving, FINA and USATF.

Prior to his position at IUPUI, Jarnecke was the director of operations for the RCA Tennis Championships, a men’s professional tennis tournament on the ATP Tour.

Outside of the office, Jarnecke serves on the board of directors for USA Wrestling and previously the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC). Locally, he is active within the community serving on various local organizing committees, including recently on the Indianapolis Host Committee for the Super Bowl.

Jarnecke received his Bachelors of Science degree from Indiana University Bloomington and his MBA from Taylor University.

He resides in Indianapolis, Indiana.

Chief Administrative Officer, Georgia World Congress Center Authority

Jennifer LeMaster is Chief Administrative Officer of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority, presiding over finance, human resources, communications and marketing. In addition, she is responsible for facilitating the Authority’s 2020 Vision strategic plan.

LeMaster joined the Authority in 2007 serving in the Georgia Dome’s premium sales and service units, external affairs and administration. Prior to her current position, she was the Authority’s director of communications, serving as the public affairs lead on major public-private partnership initiatives, including Mercedes-Benz Stadium, renovations to Centennial Olympic Park, and an expansion of the Georgia World Congress Center’s exhibit halls.

Before moving to Atlanta, LeMaster spent 10 years working at the University of Kentucky (UK), where she guided the establishment of the university’s sports hall of fame in 2005, inducting the inaugural class. She also produced more than a dozen high-profile annual events, including UK’s beloved basketball kick-off, Midnight Madness, and other state-wide branding and engagement opportunities.

A native of Ashland, Ky., LeMaster earned a dual degree in Communications and Political Science from UK. LeMaster and her husband, Zach Whipple, reside in Decatur, Ga. and have two children, Brennan, 7 and Marlee, 3.

Principal/Director of Marketing, Sink Combs Dethlefs

Jenny has spent her entire career working in sports architecture, specifically in the Sink Combs Dethlefs offices. Jenny has an architectural background and serves as a Principal in the firm as well as the Marketing Director. She is a recognized figure and active participant in the public assembly, sports, athletics and recreations industries. She participates in numerous events each year working to support and advance the various market segments. In her 27 years with Sink Combs Dethlefs she has worked closely with hundreds of municipalities, colleges and universities to ensure the firm continues its legacy of creating designs that meet the specific needs of the individual owners and users.

Jenny cares deeply about client service and understands that regardless of the size of the project, clients’ resources are precious and limited. Upon project completion, each client should feel that every dollar spent was utilized to provide the maximum benefit to the project and the facility users. Jenny is an active participant in a variety of industry organizations including IAVM (she serves as the Allied Committee Chairperson), SMPS Colorado (she was a Leonardo Award Finalist), ALSD, NRPA, CPRA, Athletic Business, NIRSA, and NACDA.

Founder, Way Solutions

Jennifer Way is a national speaker, author, and HR consultant who believes work can work better. She is the founder of Way Solutions, an HR consulting firm that serves companies and individuals by connecting retention strategies with personal career management. Sample corporate clients include Disney, HCA, Morgan Stanley, Nissan, Honda, PNC Bank, Dr. Pepper, and many more.

She’s inspired by her clients who strive to leverage talent to bring greater value to their companies, but she’s most proud of her individual clients who have negotiated greater visibility, happiness, and rewards for themselves.

Jennifer frequently speaks, blogs, and consults on behalf of CareerBuilder. She authored several of their learning series curriculums and often facilitates workshops on their behalf. Prior to her current company, she served as a Director of Recruiting for marchFIRST, National Recruiting Project Manager for KPMG, and led field recruiting for Dollar General Corporation.

Jennifer’s newest book, Caffeinate Your Career, is a collection of career management actions that you can finish with your morning cup of coffee. Jennifer is living the good life in Nashville, TN with her man and the sweetest pup there ever was.

Partner, Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

Jerry Hathaway has been practicing law for 38 years, and he is currently a partner of Drinker Biddle & Reath in New York City. Jerry paid his way through college and law school by working as a stagehand at every venue in Philadelphia (yes, every) through the hiring hall of IATSE Local 8, and he says that he initially took a cut in pay when he became a lawyer. A former IA shop steward (a job that fell to the Property Master) at Philadelphia’s Robin Hood Dell (now the Dell Music Center), Jerry became a lawyer for management in labor and employment matters, representing many entertainment and media companies over the years, including NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Disney, CBS, Lincoln Center, The Public Theater, the Walnut Street Theatre, the New York Daily News, Refinery29, ICM Partners (the talent agency), Ford Models, and others. Jerry says he has since made up the wage differential after practicing law for so long, but he does look with envy at the earnings of the house crew at Carnegie Hall. 

Assistant Professor, University of Kentucky

Jill Schinberg is an Assistant Professor of Arts Administration at the University of Kentucky. She started her professional career at Hancher Auditorium at the University of Iowa and has subsequently held positions with Bay Area music promoter Another Planet Entertainment, Festival Internacional de Videodanza in Buenos Aires, Rena Shagan Associates in New York, and (most recently) Cal Performances in Berkeley. Along with producing and directing, she has served as a consultant to emerging arts organizations, venues, and dance companies in the United States and South America.

Schinberg researches gender gap issues in arts administration along with the notion of presenter as aesthetic gatekeeper. The gender gap in American society has always been part of her consciousness; now, as an ‘expat’ from a 25-year career in arts administration, she explores the dynamics and impact of gender disparities through her scholarship. She also studies the interdependent, and sometimes mysterious, relationships amongst contemporary audiences, artists, and presenters. Through consultancies and ongoing participation in the industry, she continues not only to research but also to seek opportunities for consultation and curation.

Schinberg holds an MFA in Modern Dance with an emphasis on Aesthetics and Arts Management from the University of Utah and BAs in both Spanish and Latin American Literature and Culture and Dance from the University of Iowa. She is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers and the Association of Arts Administration Educators.

Business Development Executive, Boingo Wireless, Inc.

Jim Alexander is a business development executive at Boingo Wireless where his responsibilities include acquiring and developing large Wireless Managed Network programs for the company. He brings more than 20 years of experience in the wireless industry where he has managed business development, site acquisition, sales, project and team leadership roles at both startup and large company environments. Prior to Boingo, Alexander held roles at previous employers that include Verizon Wireless, American Tower, InnerWireless and Comba Telecom. His direct experience in the wireless industry spans many touchpoints throughout the delivery ecosystem, from wireless carrier and wireless network equipment OEMs to system integrators and DAS and Small Cell Neutral Host providers.

Alexander holds a bachelor’s degree from McMaster University in Canada and an MBA from Lake Forest Graduate School of Management.

Jim Wynkoop is the General Manager for Spectra Venue Management at Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City, NJ.  He is responsible for the scheduling and operation of the 14,000 seat arena, 3,000 seat ballroom as well as other ancillary public spaces.  He liaises with all stakeholders including tenants, service contractors, trade unions, State Agency Board, CVB, and City departments. 

Previously, Wynkoop was the General Manager for Chaifetz Arena at Saint Louis University in St. Louis, Mo where he was responsible for the operation of the 10,000 seat arena, in house restaurant and 15,000 square foot practice pavilion. 

Wynkoop began his time at Chaifetz Arena in March of 2010 after a previous eight years with Spectra as Director of Facilities at the Bank United Center at the University of Miami, General Manager at the Whittemore Center Arena at University of New Hampshire and Assistant General Manager at the Colonial Life Arena at University of South Carolina. 

Prior to Global Spectrum, Jim was the General Manager of Polar Ice Entertainment at the Cedar Rapids Ice Arena, in Cedar Rapids, IA, and the Polar Ice community facility in Peoria, AZ.                              

Wynkoop’s first position in the venue industry was at Nassau Veteran’s Memorial Coliseum in Uniondale, NY where he was the Parking Manager and Event Manger prior to being promoted to Director of Operations.                

Wynkoop has been a member of IAVM for over 20 years.  He has served on the Universities Committee including the Chair of that committee.  He is a member of the Foundation Board of Trustees and was the Universities Sector Director for the IAVM Board.  He has presented and moderated sessions at the University Venue Management Conference and the Arena Manager’s Conference.  He has attended Venue Management School at Oglebay and earned his CFE at Venue Connect in 2013. 

Convention & Cultural Services Director, City of Sacramento

Ms. Ulich currently manages convention center and theater operations along with a range of associated cultural services for Sacramento. This includes facility administration for the Convention Center, Center Theater, Memorial Auditorium and Runyon Theater. The Department has a budget of $18M, and oversees a staff of 245. In addition, the department oversees the Crocker Art Museum, Fairytale Town, Sacramento Zoo, Powerhouse Science Center, Sacramento Metropolitan Arts Commission, Historic Old Sacramento Foundation, Sacramento Convention and Visitor’s Bureau, and the Sacramento Region Performing Arts Alliance.

Prior to Sacramento, Ms. Ulich served in similar positions with the Arts Council of Fort Worth, the Cultural Services Division of Tempe, AZ and the Office of Arts and Culture for the City of Phoenix, AZ.

She received her degree at Oklahoma City University and has spent her entire career working in the arts. She serves on the United States Urban Arts Federation Board; IAVM Performing Arts Committee and has been named honorary AIA Fort Worth.

Director of Event Services, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

With Portland’5 Centers for the Arts since 2004, Joe Durr oversees front of house operations, safety, security and admissions for the five theatres of “P5.” Each year P5 hosts over 900,000 people at 900+ performances of symphony, ballet, opera, Broadway, lectures, theatre and dance.

A former professional dancer, Joe’s prior career includes 15 years as a fund raiser and development officer for non-profits and higher education. He has completed IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay (years 1 & 2, and Graduate Institute) as well completing two years of the Academy for Venue Safety and Security. Past chair of the IAVM Mentoring Committee, Joe currently serves on IAVM’s GuestX and VenueConnect planning committees.

Vice President, Event Programming & Content, VenuWorks

John Gimenez is responsible for the programming of events and entertainment at all VenuWorks managed facilities. His experience both in buying shows and working for agencies makes him an invaluable asset in bringing content to our venues.

Prior to working for VenuWorks, John worked in Nashville for over eighteen years as a successful talent agent for William Morris Endeavor, the Agency Group, and APA. He also worked for ACE Theatrical Group in Houston, TX where he was responsible for talent buying and promotion for all genres of entertainment for the Majestic Theatre and Empire Theatre in San Antonio and Saenger Theatre and Mahalia Jackson Theater in New Orleans. John is a member of International Association of Fairs & Expositions; International Entertainment Buyers Association; The Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas.

Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, VenuWorks

John Siehl entered the public assembly industry 52 years ago in 1965 at Hara Arena in Dayton, Ohio. In 1990 he joined the staff at the Ervin J Nutter Center, retiring from the Nutter Center in 2010 as Executive Director.

Siehl is currently the Vice President and Chief Operating Officer for VenuWorks.

Siehl joined IAVM in 1978 and has held the CFE designation since 1995, Siehl is also a Past Chair of IAVM. He is currently on the Certification Board for IAVM. Within the IAVM, Siehl served as Chair of the Board of Education, and Chair of the Life Safety Council. Siehl also served as Chair of the Board of Governors, on the Universities and Arenas Committees.

He is a past chairman of AVSS and the Safety and Security Committee. Siehl has been an active participant since its inception, as a student and subsequently joining the faculty. He also has been on the Board of Regents and faculty of the Venue Management School.

At Wright State, Siehl received the President’s Award for Excellence in Human Relations in 2001; also in 2001 Siehl received the Dayton Business Journal’s Corporate Caring Award, as well as the Fairborn Chamber President’s Award and the Beavercreek Civic Award in 2008.

Senior Manager, Concessions & Event Operations, Boston Red Sox

John Sodini has been working for the Red Sox for the past 7 years as Senior Manager of Concessions & Event Operations. The role primarily involves managing just under 200 event staff as well as dealing with the day-to-day communication between our concessions (Aramark) and merchandise (Twins) partners. Prior to working at the Red Sox he started his career in sports working several event staff positions during college including in the box office at the Durham Bulls and on the grounds crew at the Texas Rangers. After graduating in 2011 he started with the Red Sox as an intern and shortly thereafter joined the Operations department. While the roles and responsibilities have changed over the years he continues to relish the opportunity to create memories for fans and fondly remembers growing up near Boston and taking in the Red Sox experience as a kid with his dad.

Vice President of Communications, Nashville Symphony

As Vice President of Communications for the Nashville Symphony, Jonathan Marx is responsible for developing cohesive communications strategies and supervising the institution’s public relations, website, social media, graphic design, publications and archives. Working closely with the Symphony’s marketing, development and education teams, he plays a key role in crafting institutional messaging and branding, with a focus on increasing public awareness of the Nashville Symphony’s mission and value to the community.

A member of the Nashville Symphony’s administrative staff since 2008, Jonathan oversees strategy for all public relations campaigns, including major institutional initiatives, season announcements, individual concerts and educational initiatives. He provides media coaching, talking points and written communications for President & CEO and other members of the senior management team. Under his oversight, the Nashville Symphony’s social media engagement has experienced exponential growth, as the institution has increased its following and presence across multiple platforms with thoughtfully crafted and curated content that reflects the quality of the Nashville Symphony’s artistic product.

A former journalist with 18 years’ combined experience as an editor, critic and reporter for the Nashville Scene and The Tennessean, Jonathan also maintained a side career as a musician for nearly two decades, having recorded a dozen albums and toured widely with the group Lambchop. He has also toured with and appeared on recordings by Yo La Tengo and the late Vic Chesnutt. A native Nashvillian and lover of all things local, he served as producer of two archival reissue recordings by The Feminine Complex, an all-female teen rock ’n’ roll band from the late 1960s.

Jonathan's wife, Lesley Patterson-Marx, is a printmaker, book artist and art educator. They have one son, Abraham, and have been members of Hill and Hollow CSA in Edmonton, Ky., since 2000.

Chief Marketing Officer, Avai Mobile

I'm a visual and analytical thinker who loves technology, mobility, people, and strategy - and mixes them all together to make money. It's no coincidence that my career is about as old as the first generation iPhone. I've seen firsthand a monumental shift in how the world works. For 500 years, the movement of ideas and capabilities was dependent solely on people and physical, printed mediums. Then, in the most disruptive fraction of years in our humanity, that model was violently turned upside down, giving rise to the age of connectivity and mobility.

I'm obsessed with this idea, and have made it my career's ambition to be a first-mover, shaping how these emerging technologies affect the global landscape.

Director of Operations, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

"Julie has worked in the performing arts since high school. Like many other high school drama nerds she developed an early interest in acting but soon learned from painful experience that as an actress she was a really good theater technician. This realization led to a long stint as a stagehand at the Tucson Convention Center and in the Arizona movie industry. Some highlights include Tucson Symphony Orchestra (Stage Manager-15 years), IATSE Local 415 (20 Years-Officer for 15 years), Tucson Convention Center (Stagehand Supervisor) and lighting design and technical director for any arts organization in AZ that would hire her. Eventually Julie wisely reached the conclusion that her knees would not hold out forever and that going to college might be a good idea. She eventually obtained her B.A. in History and Political Science from the University of Arizona. (History and Political Science), and an M.A. (Management) from Bellevue University in Omaha, NE. Not wanting to accumulate student debt, Julie took advantage of tuition waivers by going to work at the University of Arizona School of Music and Dance (12 years) where she ran the performance venues and taught an upper-division course in Venue Management. Julie joined IAVM in 2002 taking advantage of as many educational opportunities as possible at that time. Julie attended the Venue Management School and Senior Executive Symposium and she is currently serving on the Sustainability Committee while earning sustainability design certifications from the University of California-Davis. During her tenure at the University of Arizona, Julie gained valuable experience in construction and capital planning during a construction boom that included the School of Music and Dance. This experience led to a job as VP of Facilities and Operations for Omaha Performing Arts (2 years) and a job with Pinnacle Entertainment, Inc. (Director of Design and Construction -10 years) a Las Vegas based casino company where she was responsible for $10-$24M in capital improvement projects at locations in Iowa and Missouri. As interesting as the casino world can be, Julie missed the performing arts and venue management so she moved to Portland Oregon in June to join the Portland’5 Centers for the Performing Arts as Director of Operations, her dream job located in a fantastic city."

Product Manager, Ungerboeck Software International

Justin D. Ungerboeck serves as Product Manager within the Venues division of Ungerboeck Software International, a leading provider of software for the event management industries. Headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, Ungerboeck Software has offices in the United States, Europe, Australia and Asia, including in Hong Kong and Guangzhou. Justin has gained extensive industry insight during his 10+ years of experience at Ungerboeck and his frequent visits with event organizers and venues around the world.

Justin constantly keeps his finger on the industry pulse, rendering him a subject matter expert. With an in-depth understanding of all the varying types of venues and business models, Justin is always on top of emerging trends and best practices. Prior to joining USI, Mr. Ungerboeck practiced law in St. Louis, Missouri. He holds both an MBA and Juris Doctorate degree from St. Louis University. In addition to graduating from IAVM’s Venue Management School at Oglebay, Justin currently serves on the IAVM Board of Directors, Research Committee (Chair), and Industry Affairs Council.

He resides in the St. Louis area with his wife Kara and their two children, Catherine and Aidan. In 2015, Justin was appointed by the Austrian Foreign Ministry to the position of Honorary Consul.

Executive Vice President & General Manager, San Diego Convention Center Corporation

Karen Totaro is the Executive Vice President/General Manager of the San Diego Convention Center Corporation. She oversees the operations of the facility and all customer-facing experiences within the facility, including Engineering, Event Services, Security/Guest Services, Facility Services and Information Technology. She also serves as the liaison and contract manager for Centerplate, PSAV, and Smart City.

Prior to heading west, Karen served as the General Manager of the Atlantic City Convention Center for Spectra. Karen relocated from Cincinnati where she held the position of Assistant General Manager at the Duke Energy Convention Center, which was also managed by Spectra. Prior to Cincinnati, Karen served as the Assistant Executive Director at the Oregon Convention Center in Portland for nine years and the Associate Director at the University of Dayton Arena in Dayton, Ohio for five years. Karen started in the business at the University of Illinois in Champaign/Urbana as the Marketing Manager for the Assembly Hall Arena.

During her career Karen has had an active role in the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) by serving in several capacities which have included her recent role as Chairman of the Board as well as 1st and 2nd Vice Chair of the Board of Directors and now Past Chair which equates to four years on the Executive Committee, District IV Regional Director, a seat on the Board of Governors, Chair of the Transition Committee, Chair of the Education Council, Chair of the Board Development Committee, a member of the Allied Task Force and two years as a member of the Board of Trustees. Karen has also served as Chair of the Governance Committee and three years on the Leadership/Nominating Committee which she now chairs. The roles noted included three terms on the IAVM Board of Directors. Karen was instrumental in the planning of the IAVM Region IV Conference in Portland and assisted with the Conference planning in Vancouver, Spokane and Seattle as well as the International Convention Center Conference in Portland in 2010. Karen was asked to Chair the VenueConnect Planning Committee for 2014 in Portland.

In the summer of 2015 Karen was named a ""Woman of Influence"" by Venues Today Magazine and was the cover story of FM (Facility Manager) Magazine with an article on ""Leadership."" In 2016 Karen was awarded the ""Elite Award"" from Facilities and Destination Magazine for making a difference in the meetings industry. Most recently Karen was highlighted in Facilities & Destination Magazine on the ""F &D A-List of Top 12 Women Convention Center Executives.""

She is a graduate of the University of Illinois and the IAVM Venue Management School. She completed the three-year Senior Executive Symposium in 2007 and received her Certified Facilities Executive distinction in 2009.

Chief Executive Officer, OC Fair & Event Center

Kathy Kramer joined the OC Fair & Event Center in January of 2015 as CEO. The OC Fair & Event Center produces the annual OC Fair each summer that attracts over 1.3 million guests. In addition the 150 acre facility plays host to over 150 event days annually and is home to Centennial Farm, Hero’s Hall Museum and the Agricultural Workers Memorial – Table of Dignity. Kathy is a Board Member of the Costa Mesa Chamber of Commerce, a Board Member of the nonprofit Taller San Jose and is part of the International Association of Venue Managers Fair and Amphitheater Committee. She is a member of IAVM, IAFE, IFEA and WFA. She was recognized as one of the 100 most influential people in Orange County in 2016. Kathy comes from a diverse background in for-profit, government and not-for-profit organizations, holding key roles in the areas of strategic planning, sales & marketing, venue operations, production of major events and corporate sponsorship. Her previous position was with Northlands in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada where she was the Vice President of Business Operations. She was also Deputy Director of the Phoenix Convention Center and Venues, Vice President of Convention Sales & Marketing for Century Link Center in Omaha, Midwest Regional Director of Sales & Marketing for Six Continents Hotels and Resorts and Director of Sales & Marketing for Harrah’s Casino and Hotel. She holds a CFE (Certified Facility Executive) from the International Association of Venue Managers and is a Certified Meeting Professional (CMP).

Senior Director of Marketing, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club

Kathy has over 25 years of experience in marketing on the agency and client-side of the business. She is in her 13th season with the Milwaukee Brewers where she and the marketing team are responsible for all consumer marketing, advertising and branding efforts for both the general and multicultural markets. Contributing to the Brewers surpassing 2.3-million tickets sold for the past 11 seasons, with three of those seasons topping 3-million, the marketing team has received regional and national recognition for its award-winning campaigns. Prior to joining the Brewers, Kathy spent nearly ten years with The Bon-Ton Stores in Pennsylvania holding the title of divisional vice president/creative director prior to moving to Milwaukee in 1999. After relocating to Milwaukee, she served as vice president of account services for Zizzo Group Advertising & Public Relations in Milwaukee from 2000-04, where she ultimately managed the Milwaukee Brewers business. Kathy sits on the steering committee for The National Sports Forum, was named to The Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” list in 2006, and is passionately involved within the Milwaukee community.

Chief Sales Officer, Nashville Convention & Vistors Corporation

Kay Witt, Chief Sales Officer for the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation is a 30-year hospitality veteran. A graduate of the University of Texas in Austin, Kay began her career at the Dallas Convention Center as an Event Coordinator before relocating to Louisville, KY. There she held several positions at the Kentucky Exposition Center, the Louisville Convention Center and eventually the Louisville CVB. The last 24 years she has been an active member of the Nashville community and has directed various sales teams at Gaylord Opryland and now the Nashville Convention and Visitors Corporation.

Agent, Paradigm

Keith Shackleford caught the music business bug in college where he helped book concerts for a college organization. After graduating from college, he hit the road for a merchandise company selling artist merch at festivals.

With the real world on pause, he moved to Nashville to work on the road with various bands. Starting as “merch guy,” he quickly worked his way up to tour manager, eventually getting off the road to work in artist management. In 2004, he made the jump to the agency world. He came to work at Paradigm Talent Agency in 2009 where is currently the head of Paradigm’s Festival Department.

Senior Booking Director, Feld Entertainment

As Senior Booking Director at Feld Entertainment, Kelly has been with the company for over 13 years in the North American Routing and Tours Department which oversees the booking of all domestic productions within the Feld portfolio in the US and Canada. Prior to coming to Feld in 2004, Kelly spent four years at VEE Corporation (now VStar) in Minneapolis where she started as a Promoter and later moved into the role of Booking Manager. She is active within the industry and currently serves as a Trustee for the IAVM Foundation, is a Mentor in the Mentor Connector Program and has previously served on the Allied Committee and Arena Sector Committee. Kelly is also an active member of the Florida Facility Manager Association.  She and her wife, Kate, reside in St. Pete Beach, FL with their two labs, Lincoln and Parker.

Head of Digital Public Appearances / Touring, WME

Since 2014, Kenny Layton’s team has worked on live tours and appearances for more than 50 native digital stars, including MARKIPLIER, LILLY SINGH, THE DOLAN TWINS, and CAMERON DALLAS. In addition to routing / booking live tours, he also focuses on pursuing crossover opportunities for WME’s digital clients in more traditional sectors—film, TV, literary, etc. Layton has over 10 years of experience working in the digital space and has been named to Billboard’s Digital Power Players List two years in a row.
Senior Vice President of Event Management, Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment

Tampa Bay Sports & Entertainment (TBSE) is a dynamic and proactive booking company lead by Kevin Preast (Senior Vice President of Event Management), an experienced booking and marketing professional with over 20 years of experience in the industry. Preast was graduated from University of South Florida before joining the Ice Palace in 1996 as Executive Services and Sales Manager. Preast also worked for the arena and the Tampa Bay Lightning as group sales and service manager before joining the Tampa Bay Rays in 1999 and Phillips Arena later that same year where he worked in a variety of roles with the arena and its professional sports teams including the Atlanta Thrashers (NHL), the Atlanta Hawks (NBA) and the Atlanta Dream (WNBA). With a strong network and the power of the TBSE brands, and industry affiliations with IAVM and the Oak View Group, the development of the event mix has reached new heights with the strength of top tours acts, amazing family shows and private and public meetings maximizing the diversity of events and strong sales and the respective revenues to establish the Tampa Bay market as a must play market. Now with TBSE for over a year, Preast is focused on adding a new role to his roster with involvement in Jeff Vinik’s new company, Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties (TBEP), that has signed a five-year agreement with Sun Dome, Inc. to manage and operate the USF Sun Dome. TBEP, which entered a 10-year multimedia rights partnership with USF in April, will oversee the day-to-day and strategic operations of the Sun Dome starting July 1, 2017 and running through 2022 with an option to extend the agreement. Based in Tampa, Fla., TBEP was established by owner Jeff Vinik to provide services to clients relating to their own sports and entertainment properties. It is a separate and different entity than the Vinik controlled organization that operates Amalie Arena and the highly-successful Tampa Bay Lightning NHL franchise, which was lauded as the No. 1 franchise among the four major professional sports leagues by ESPN in 2016. With this multi-year partnership, TBEP will be responsible for the planning, services, operations and management of the Sun Dome. TBEP will also oversee staff operations, booking and management of events and activities, and the arena's annual operating budget once approved by the Sun Dome, Inc. board.

Director of Venues & Events, City of Tacoma

As Director of Venues & Events for the City of Tacoma, Washington, Kim Bedier is responsible for the iconic Tacoma Dome, one of the largest wood domed structures in the world with seating for up to 22,000, and the Greater Tacoma Convention Center, which offers over 119,000 square feet of flexible meeting space. Cheney Stadium (home of the AAA Tacoma Rainiers), the historic Pantages and Rialto Theaters, and the Theater on the Square round out the portfolio.

Bedier served as Chair of the Board of Directors of IAVM in 2015. She has been chair of the Arenas Committee and Arenas Sector Director, and Chair of the Board of Regents of Venue Management School at Oglebay. She instructs at VMS where she has facilitated diversity programming for over a decade, and for its Graduate Institute. Bedier also instructs at the Asia-Pacific (Australia) Venue Management School and Graduate Institute, where she introduced a diversity class as a guest instructor in 2007.

Bedier was named one of five inaugural “Women of Influence” in the venue management industry by trade publication Venues Today in 2007. In 2011, Bedier received the Ray Ward Award for recognition of her contributions to education at the Venue Management School at Oglebay. In 2015, she was declared one of “10 Women Buyers You Should Know” by Amplify. Facilities & Events Management named her one of “Ten Leading Women Venue Executives” in 2016 and an “Entertainment Venue Executive Luminary” in 2017.

Executive Vice President, Miami HEAT & General Manager, American Airlines Arena,

A veteran of the dynamic South Florida sports market for more than two decades, Kim Stone’s experience spans almost every functional area of a professional sports team. She has been an integral part of building the success of the Miami HEAT and American Airlines Arena. As an EVP, Stone oversees several business departments including Data Analytics, Digital Strategy and is responsible for the service and retention of the Miami HEAT’s season ticket holder base. As General Manager of AA Arena, she runs the daily operations of the venue, which Pollstar Magazine recently ranked as the #1 venue in Florida, #4 in the United States and #15 in the world. In 2013, Venues Today named Stone to their Women of Influence list and Sports Business Journal has recognized her talents twice as a 2016 Game Changer and this summer as a Power Player In Venue Management.

Assistant Professor, University of New Haven

Dr. Mahoney is currently an Assistant Professor in the University of New Haven College of Business and teaches primarily in the areas of event and venue management. She previously served on the faculty of the University of South Carolina and The Ohio State University. Dr. Mahoney also has 20+ years of industry experience in NBA, NHL, NFL, and major college Division I facilities in various capacities including as a contractor, client, and as part of the venue management team. She has been involved with the opening of three new venues including a convention center, football stadium, and an arena. Her work with Show Pros Entertainment Services, Inc. provided opportunities to work in a variety of venues including stadiums, arenas, speedways, and amphitheaters. Dr. Mahoney also previously served as an Assistant Commissioner with the Ohio High School Athletic Association (OHSAA) and Executive Director of the OHSAA Foundation. Most recently, she served as the Director of Communications & Program Development with Columbus Arena Sports & Entertainment (CASE), which oversees the day-to-day operation of Nationwide Arena and the Schottenstein Center. She continues to be active in the industry through consulting work and professional associations.

Marketing Manager, St. Charles Convention Center

Kristin Bowen is the Marketing Manager at the St. Charles Convention Center in St. Charles, Missouri. A self-described “creative,” Kristin’s responsibilities include website, social media, and brand management, photography, and graphic design. Kristin has been in marketing since 2008, and joined the events industry in late 2014. Her dedication and passion for her job was recognized by the Convention Center, naming her Employee of the Quarter and Employee of the Year in 2015.

A proud Missouri State University alumna, Kristin graduated with a Bachelor of Science in Communication and Marketing minor. Her passion for training ignited while earning her Master of Arts in Communication at Missouri State University and teaching Public Speaking as a Graduate Assistant.

Kristin joined IAVM in 2015, and promptly assisted in planning the 2015 Region 2+3 Meeting. She currently serves as the IAVM Region 3 newsletter coordinator. Locally, Kristin is a member of the Habitat for Humanity, St. Charles Board of Directors and Marketing Team. At the St. Charles Convention Center, she serves as a Chair on the Training Committee and served on the development team for the Center’s current Client Experience and Employee Rewards Program, currently being piloted at the facility for Spectra Venue Management.

Owner, President, & CEO, Commonwealth Development Group, Inc. 

Mr. Atema is the Owner, President, and Chief Executive Officer of Commonwealth Development Group, Inc. Since its formation in 1990, Commonwealth has specialized in commercial real estate, office, retail, industrial and multi-family development, project management, and historic restoration.

Commonwealth serves as an owner’s representative to provide project management services for the creation of specialized real estate and project development. Over the years, we have provided services to a wide range of companies, foundations, and government entities, assisting them in producing a final project and facility that meets their specific market or operational needs. We identify professionals needed to design and engineer the project. Subsequently, Commonwealth manages the planning, zoning, and budgeting processes, and oversees the selection of capable contractors. We often also provide accounting services and coordination of specialized service providers such as technology, landscape, interior finishes and furnishings, start-up, and property management.

Mr. Atema also serves as President of Fernwood Real Estate, a residential and commercial real estate brokerage firm in Franklin, Tennessee, and holds a Bachelor of Arts in Business Administration from LaTourneau College.

Director of Alumni Affairs, Parent Relations and Community Initiatives, University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts

Now the Director of Alumni Affairs, Parent Relations and Community Initiatives for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas College of Fine Arts, Larry served as Director of Artistic Programming and Production and Facilities Manager for the UNLV Performing Arts Center for three decades. A Certified Facilities Executive, he has presented and coordinated more than 40 Barrick Lecture Series presentations, hundreds of arts events, and has been a member of the Phi Kappa Phi Chapter 100 Board since 2004. In 2015, Larry was named UNLV’s President’s Administrative Faculty Member of the Year. He has served on the International Association of Venue Managers Board of Directors, the I.A.V.M. Universities Sector Committee and is the current Chairman of I.A.V.M.’s Performing Arts Sector Committee. Larry also serves on the I.A.V.M. Research Task Force. A member of Western Arts Alliance, he has written over two dozen articles for the Utah Shakespeare Festival, has gambled with Itzhak Perlman and had In-N-Out Burger with Joshua Bell.

Associate Professor, Johnson & Wales University

Mr. Esckilsen is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sports, Entertainment and Event – Management, in the Hospitality College at Johnson & Wales University on the Providence, Rhode Island Campus. Prior to his academic career, Esckilsen managed eight arenas during his international venue management career. He remains active in the development and management of sports and entertainment, venues and events as Principal of ESVenues. Esckilsen is a co-author of two textbooks for IAVM including the most recent publication, Public Assembly Venue Management: Sports, Entertainment, Meeting and Convention Venues, published by Brown Books for IAVM, 2015. He is also a co-author of Public Assembly Venue Management: Principles and Practices, published by IAVM, 2009. Esckilsen is a Certified Facility Executive (CFE) endorsed by the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Coppell, TX. He is also a Certified Hospitality Educator (CHE), endorsed by the American Hotel & Lodging Educational Institute (AH&LEI), Washington, DC. Esckilsen has a Master of Science degree from Indiana University, Bloomington, IN; a Bachelor of Science degree from Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, OH; and an Associate in Science degree from Dean College, Franklin, MA. Esckilsen resides in Pawtucket, Rhode Island.

Talent Buyer, AEG Presents

Lenore Kinder works with AEG Presents. Her path began in Knoxville where, directly out of college, she went to work for Blue Cats, honing her marketing, production and booking skills and working her way up to Director of Operations. In search of personal growth and a general challenge, in 2006 she moved to Nashville in search of the right opportunity. In 2007, Lenore joined AEG Live/The Messina Group as a marketing intern, just to get her foot in the door. She quickly proved herself to be an invaluable part of the Nashville team and in 2014 was nominated for Pollstar Talent Buyer of the Year and 2017 ACM Talent Buyer of the Year. Lenore has become well-known for her “talent intuition” and artist development insight. She currently curates tours for Kacey Musgraves and The Lumineers in North America. Looking at her club shows from just a few years ago and you will see artists such as Imagine Dragons, Adele, Katy Perry, Mumford and Sons, twenty one pilots – artists she still books in arenas. Lenore’s passion for her work, knack for identifying talent, and her endearing tenacity has led to indelible relationships with artists, managers, agents and everyone in between.

General Manager, Paramount Theatre

Since April 1999, Leslee has been general manager of the historic 3,000-seat Paramount Theatre in Oakland, CA. Built in 1930 in the Art Deco style, the theatre has been authentically restored, placing it on the National Register of Historic Places.

Born and raised in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, Leslee is a graduate of McMaster University. She began her career in public assembly management in 1985, with the opening of Copps Coliseum, a 17,500-seat multi-purpose hockey arena, and programming of Hamilton Place Theatre, a 2,291-seat performing arts venue.

In 1997 Leslee left Canada to accept the position of Assistant Director of Touring and Routing with Feld Entertainment working in their corporate offices, then located in Vienna, VA.

Leslee has been an active member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM). She graduated the IAVM Facility Management Program at Oglebay, completed the three-year IAVM Senior Executive Program (SES) at Cornell University, and acted as Chair of the Board of Governors in 2010.

Leslee has served on IAVM’s VenueConnect Program Planning Committee, and has been Vice-Chair of the Performing Arts Sector Committee with responsibility for programing of the two 2017 Performing Arts Managers’ Conferences.

In 2015, Leslee was named as a Venues Today Woman of Influence Award Winner.

She resides in Fremont, CA with her husband Steven Kirsner, VP of Booking and Events at the SAP Center at San Jose.

Senior Director of Ticket Operations, Bridgestone Arena

Lonnie Wilkerson is the Director of Ticket Operations for the Nashville Predators and the Bridgestone Arena, and has been involved in ticketing for several years. Prior to his position, he worked at various venues in Nashville doing everything from being a stagehand to merch seller and anything in between.

Chief Executive Officer, Cow Palace

Lori Marshall grew up in Knightsen, CA as an active member of 4-H showing livestock at her local County Fair and throughout the state. She attended Modesto Junior College and received her Associate of Science Degree in Agriculture and continued on to graduate from California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo with a Bachelor of Science degree in Animal Science with a minor in

Lori has been involved in a variety of civil and community organizations with one of her favorites being her positions as the Vice Chair and Secretary/Treasurer of the Contra Costa County Winegrowers Assn.  As a champion within the fair industry itself, Lori has participated in a multitude of committee positions within Western Fair’s Association, California Fairs Services Authority, CA Division of Fairs and Exposition, International Association of Fairs and Expositions, and is currently active in the IAFE Fair Management Certification Program. Other professional organizations include IAVM, MPI, PMCA and her local Convention and Visitors Bureaus. .

Lori started at the Cow Palace in July 2015 as the Deputy Manager and after a whirl wind 8 months she took over the CEO position on April 1, 2016.  Lori is looking forward to continuing the tradition of putting on the Grand National Livestock Expo, Horse Show, and Rodeo along with contributing to the growth and development of the Cow Palace as a multi -purpose arena and event center.

Prior to working at the Cow Palace, Lori worked for 25 years at the Contra Costa County Fair, working her way through the ranks from the “girl in the livestock barns” to the CEO. The annual fair was always the highlight of each year for Lori and she is now looking forward to putting on the annual Grand National Livestock Expo, Horse Show, and Rodeo.

What Lori loves most about the event industry is the opportunity to work with many different people and always learning new things. “We are working on something different each day, it’s never boring, and each day holds a new adventure.” she says.

In addition to her role as Chief Executive Officer at the Cow Palace, Lori lives in Pleasanton with her boyfriend John (aka Best Honey Ever),  and is the proud mother of her two children, son Brock (23) and daughter Morgan (21).

Lori’s favorite quote is “Life is an awfully BIG adventure “

CEO, TicketForce

Lynne King Smith is a writer, blogger, lover of social media, and loves to share ideas about using technology across markets. She helped to found and ran the communications for a non-profit organization from 1996-2002 and worked as a senior writer for over ten years.

She holds a BS/Business degree with an E-business concentration and manages the online presence for TicketForce, where she is the CEO since January of 2010. Her blog, The Whole Business is a casual conversation on life and business.

King Smith is a frequent presenter via webinars and national conferences, including Association of Arts Presenters (APAP), International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), International Ticketing Association (INTIX), and The League of Historic American Theatres (LHAT). Format includes formal presentations, round-table discussions and one-on-one consulting.

Lynne has received the Most Influential Women in Arizona award from the AZ Biz Journal and the Most Admired Leaders in Phoenix from the Phoenix Business Journal. Her leadership at TicketForce with a focus on positive company culture has resulted in being voted one of the Best Places to Work in Arizona 2 years in a row.

Deputy Director, Baltimore Convention Center

Mac Campbell, CVP is the Deputy Director at the 1.2 million sq ft Baltimore Convention Center. Mac oversees all facets of Center operations, sales, and aesthetics for a facility that sees over a million people annually for trade shows, conventions, and meetings. Recently promoted in July of 2017, Mac was the Director of Client Services for the Center since 2012.

Prior to coming to the Convention Center, Mac spent seven years at the Music Center at Strathmore in North Bethesda, Maryland. As Operations Manager his responsibilities included event set-up coordination and building maintenance supervision of both a new 2,000-seat concert hall and 114-year old historic colonial mansion on 11-acres of grounds.

Mac is an active member of IAVM, having participated or graduated from several courses such as: the IAVM Mentoring Program, Venue Management School at Oglebay, VMS Graduate Institute, Senior Executive Symposium and the Academy of Venue Safety and Security. Currently Mac is serving on the Mentoring and Young Professionals committees in addition to his Region 1 duties as incoming Director. Mac received his Bachelors Degree from Elon University with a major in Corporate Communications and General Music and a minor in Jazz Studies.

President & CEO, APAP, the Association of Performing Arts Professionals

In October 2011, Mario Garcia Durham became the fifth President and CEO of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) since its founding in 1957.

Prior to his leadership role with APAP, Mr. Durham was posted at the National Endowment for the Arts (NEA) where he served as Director of Artist Communities & Presenting from 2004 – 2011. At the NEA, Mr. Durham contributed to programs such as An Evening of Poetry hosted by the President and Mrs. Obama and the NEA Opera Honors. He inaugurated the NEA’s Artist Communities granting program and was the initiator of Live from Your Neighborhood, a groundbreaking study of the impact of outdoor arts festivals in the U.S. After holding numerous management positions and serving as artistic director at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts in the 1990s, he founded Yerba Buena Arts & Events in 2000, the producing organization of the annual Yerba Buena Gardens Festival. The outdoor event offers more than 100 free performances by the San Francisco Opera, the San Francisco Ballet and more for an audience of 100,000 attendees.

Throughout his career of over 20 years as a presenter, Mr. Durham has served on numerous boards, special advisory committees and funding panels. He is currently on the board of the Alliance of Artist Communities and Data Arts (formerly the Cultural Data Project). Durham serves as vice chair of the Performing Arts Alliance, a board of the leaders of the major performing arts service organizations in the U.S. Durham had previously served on the APAP Board of Directors and on the Executive Committee. He is on the Community Advisory Council of the PBS station WETA in Washington, DC.

A graduate of the University of Houston, Durham is passionate about a broad range of performing arts and evolving forms of performance and media arts.

Vice President North American Routing and Tours, FELD Entertainment

Mark is an entertainment industry veteran with nearly 30 years of experience. He has been with FELD Entertainment for more than a decade. Mark and his team are responsible for routing, contracting and touring three units of Ringling Bros. & Barnum and Bailey Circus, five units of Disney on Ice, four units of Disney Live!, Arenacross, Stadium Supercross, Arena Monster Jam, Stadium Monster Jam and Marvel Universe Live!...totaling 820 domestic engagements annually.

Mark has 17 years of arena management experience as he held various leadership roles across the country. Mark has worked in the Los Angeles Coliseum and Sports Arena, Peoria Civic Center, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Stadium and Coliseum, MGM Grand Garden and opened the Crown Coliseum in Fayetteville, NC.

Mark has also worked with the Harlem Globetrotters, Great Russian Ice Show (which he and his father produced and toured) and Vee Corporation.

Mark has been married for 22 years and has one daughter who will be graduating from the University of South Carolina in May 2018, majoring in Sport and Entertainment Management. Mark and his family reside in Lakewood Ranch, FL.

Senior Vice President, SearchWide

Mark provides executive search services to the venue management, exposition and event sectors; additionally, destination marketing organizations, professional sport teams and to companies that support the meeting and convention industry. His expertise includes “C” level search to strategic account development and sales leadership positions.

Prior to joining SearchWide, Mark spent more than 15 years in the convention hotel industry. He worked in Chicago, Minneapolis and Dallas including 3 major convention hotels. Mark is involved with IAEE, DMAI and currently serves on the IAVM Foundation Board of Trustees. A native Chicagoan, Mark is a graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Stout and currently resides just outside Dallas with his wife and three active kids.

President, Smart City Networks

As the President of Smart City Networks, Mark oversees Smart City’s sales and operations teams and all strategic corporate initiatives. With over 30 years of experience in the convention industry Mark has worked with many of the largest convention centers, stadiums and arenas in North America.

Before taking the helm at Smart City, Mark was Vice President of Facilities for the Las Vegas Convention & Visitor’s Authority following a 23-year tenure at Aramark culminating in his role as Executive Vice President of Aramark’s Convention & Cultural Attractions Group.

Mark has the unique perspective of having worked as both a facility manager and exclusive facility partner in a variety of roles. This perspective has led to numerous speaking opportunities both in the United States and abroad. He is a member of the International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM), Association International Palais de Congress (AIPC), and the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE). Most recently he addressed AIPC’s 56th Annual Congress in Berlin, Germany on current technology issues and trends in the Convention Center market.

He holds a BS degree in Accounting from the University of Scranton in Pennsylvania.

Director of Education, IAVM

Mark Herrera is the Director of Education for the International Association of Venue Managers. As part of his duties, Mark teaches Situational Awareness-Mindset training aimed at giving venues the tools to be safer and more secure. The training emphasizes on Exceptional Focus, Performance, and Control in Extreme Situations.

In addition, as the Director of Education for IAVM, Mark represents the Department of Homeland Security Office of Infrastructure Protection through the Public Assembly Facility Sub-Sector Council. As a representative of the Public Assemblies Facilities Sub-Sector Council he works in collaboration with the Department of Homeland Security and the Protective Security Advisor to assure that information is provided to protect our Public Facility Assemblies and all Critical Infrastructures. Mark is also on the National Fire Protection Association Technical Advisory Committee for Assembly Occupancies.

Herrera is also a seasoned law enforcement officer and trainer, having spent twenty years with the Hobbs, NM, Police Department in numerous roles including Patrol Officer, Detective for the Gang and Narcotics unit, Supervisor of the Crime Prevention Division, Field Training Officer, Honor Guard Commander, and Entry Team Leader and Tactical Sergeant for a Special Operations Unit known as S.W.A.T.

During this time, his responsibilities also included the development and implementation of security policies and procedures and security awareness programs for the Community of Hobbs.

Upon retiring from the police department, he leveraged his training background to implement security policies, procedures and training programs for the oil and gas industry and later worked as an instructor for the DHS, training 3,000 armed pilots to defend against acts of terrorism involving criminal violence or air piracy.

Director of Business Development, Etix

Marshall Pred is the Director of Business Development for Etix, an international web-based ticketing service provider for the entertainment industry, processing over 50 million tickets per year in 40 countries. As an active Member of IAVM, Etix provides full service ticketing and marketing services for across the country successfully supporting some of the industry's largest and most complex on-sales. Marshall has been in the ticketing industry for over twenty years. During his career, Marshall has successfully held several roles within the areas of sales, management and account oversight.
Marketing and PR Manager, Music City Center

Mary Brette Wylly is the Marketing & PR Manager for the Music City Center (MCC). She has been with the convention center since the building opened in 2013 and oversees the public relations and sustainability departments. She works closely with the Sustainability Coordinator to effectively communicate the sustainable initiatives and successes at the Music City Center as well as organize all community outreach efforts. Mary Brette is a member of the Nashville Chapter of the Public Relations Society of America and she earned a Bachelor’s degree as well as a Master’s degree from the University of Mississippi.

General Manager, Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena

Matt Gibson, CFE, began his venue management career in 1999 by answering a newspaper ad for a marketing assistant position at the Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena. Gibson has over eighteen years of experience in marketing, promoting and managing a myriad of large-scale events from rodeos and ice shows to major-league concerts, NCAA Basketball Championships and US Figure Skating Championships. When not managing the Spokane Arena, Gibson hangs out with his amazing wife, Brooklyn, and his incredible three kids, Blake, 17; Ella, 12; and Lola, 8.

Marketing & Sales Manager, Lied Center for Performing Arts

Matthew Boring is Marketing & Sales Manager at the Lied Center for Performing Arts in Lincoln, NE where he oversees advertising, public relations and patron loyalty efforts. During his tenure at the Lied Center, Boring launched a yearlong campaign celebrating the Lied Center’s 25th Anniversary, increased season ticket subscriptions to the highest level in over 10 years, and developed advertising campaigns for 250+ performances generating over $12 million in ticket sales revenue. A 2010 Harry S. Truman Scholar, Mr. Boring was a member of the inaugural IAVM 30 under 30 class and has also been active in national efforts to reduce the high-school dropout rate, serving from 2008-2011 as a Trustee with America’s Promise Alliance (a Washington, D.C. non-profit organization founded by Gen. Colin Powell).

Mr. Boring is a graduate of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln with a BA in Music (trumpet) and has performed at some of the most prestigious venues throughout the world including the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., Cathédrale Notre Dame de Paris, the Rose Bowl, and Sagrada Família in Barcelona as well as for national Broadway tours including The Book of Mormon, WICKED, and Pippin.

Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer, AEG Worldwide

Matthew R. Bettenhausen is the Senior Vice President and Chief Security Officer for AEG Worldwide. AEG is the leading sports and entertainment presenter in the world.  They own or manage over 120 sports, entertainment and convention center venues such as STAPLES Center, the LA Convention Center and the LA Live entertainment district in Los Angeles. They own sports franchises in professional basketball, hockey, and soccer.  AEG Presents is the second largest promoter of concerts, live tours and special events in the United States.  Matt has overall responsibility for security, safety and preparedness for AEG’s domestic and global operations and facilities. 

Matt is a Certified Protection Professional (CPP); Certified Sport Security Professional (CSSP); an attorney (Illinois/Federal bars) and a licensed Certified Public Accountant in Illinois. 
Previously, Matt was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to lead California’s homeland security and emergency management operations as the Secretary of the California Emergency Management Agency (CalEMA). Matt was a member of Governor Schwarzenegger’s cabinet for nearly six years and served as the Chairman of the California Emergency Council.
Prior to his appointment in California, Matt served as the first Director of State and Territorial Coordination with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS), where he was the Department’s representative to the White House Office of Intergovernmental Affairs and a member of both the Department’s Emergency Response Group and its Interagency Incident Management Team.

For over twelve years, Matt served as an Assistant U.S. Attorney in Chicago where he investigated and prosecuted federal criminal offenses, including terrorism cases.  He was also appointed Deputy Governor of Illinois and served as the State’s first Homeland Security Advisor.

Principal Consultant, Ross & Baruzzini

With over 23 years of experience, Matthew is an accomplished Security Professional with extensive domestic and international experience in the development, design, implementation, and management of programs involving all aspects of physical security, security operations, compliance, VIP protection, emergency planning and crisis and project management. Matthew has served as a trusted advisor for a diverse clientele often working amongst the highest executive levels of organizations.

His career began in the US Army as a Military Police Officer, Dog Handler and WMD (CBRN) Counter-Terrorism specialist as a founding member of the NJ National Guard’s 21st Civil Support Team (light). Matthew worked in the Joint Operations Center during the initial response to 9/11 and later conducting explosive detection canine sweeps during the recovery operations under contract for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA).

Prior to joining Ross & Baruzzini, Matthew was the Director of Consulting Services for a NY based specialized security firm, where he oversaw the auditing and compliance program implementation for a major US Sporting League’s security and safety practices. In this role, and as the Offshore Security Compliance and CBRN Team Manager for AIG, he has been responsible for over 100 security assessments, compliance audits, and security mitigation projects.

President & CEO, International Ticketing Association

Maureen has 35+ years of experience spanning not-for-profit, commercial arts, Broadway, regional ticketing, performing arts and colleges. She has experience that spans the ticket office, call centers, season tickets, group sales, marketing, fundraising and management. Prior to joining INTIX Maureen had a rich career including VP of Arts & Entertainment at AudienceView, INTIX’s interim President, Senior Business Consultant at Spectra and spent 23 years with The Denver Center for the Performing Arts as Director of Ticketing Services. Maureen is a 30+ year INTIX veteran with 18 years on its board including three stints as Chair. Maureen has hosted five conferences and is a frequent speaker at Industry conferences, seminars and workshops. She has won several high-profile awards from INTIX, FutureTix, AudienceView and NJC.

Associate Director, Events, National Basketball Association

Micah’s interest in a venue management career began during college by managing a collegiate hockey team as a student employee. From that experience his interest grew into working for two NBA franchises, two Olympic games, and coordinating venue logistics for events around the globe. Now working for the National Basketball Association, he is responsible for carrying out NBA marquee events such as the NBA Finals, All-Star weekend, NBA Draft Combine, as well as the NBA’s Global Games series of pre-season exhibition games held internationally in places such as: London, Mexico City, Turkey, Brazil, China, and South Africa. He holds a M.S. in Sports Management from Columbia University and is also employed as a part-time associate instructor at Columbia University as well.

General Manager, Verizon Arena

  • Born and raised in Tupelo, MS
  • Graduated with an MBA from MS State University 1978
  • Worked as program advisor at MSU booking such artists as Billy Joel, Bruce Springsteen and Earth, Wind and Fire
  • Moved to Los Angeles in 1982 and worked as an agent for Triad Artists for 6 years booking such artists as Tina Turner, Whitney Houston, and Steve Winwood
  •  Moved back to Tupelo in 1988 and became Director of the Tupelo Coliseum presenting such artists as Tom Petty, The Eagles, and Tim McGraw
  • Moved to Little Rock in 1997 to serve as GM of Alltel Arena (now Verizon Arena), assisting in the design and construction of the arena as well as booking and managing when it opened.
  • Presented such artists as The Rolling Stones, Bon Jovi, Bruno Mars, Fleetwood Mac, Garth Brooks, and Paul McCartney
  • Seen Bruce Springsteen over 25 times strictly as a fan.
  • Served as Chair of IAVM’s Venue Management School 2015.
  • Married to former agent and Los Angeles native, Meg Goldenberg and has a 20 year old son, Jonah.
Project Manager, CSL International

Michael Miller serves as a Project Manager with a diverse range of experience in the sports, entertainment and finance industries, including financial and economic modeling, primary market research, market demand analysis, competitive and comparable facility analysis and project funding analysis. Mr. Miller has analyzed various planning aspects for a variety of facilities across the country, including MLS and NCAA stadiums, collegiate and municipal arenas, minor league baseball stadiums and youth sports complexes.

Prior to joining CSL, Mr. Miller was an Investment Banking Associate at Stephens Inc. in their New York and Dallas offices where he focused on merger and acquisition work across a variety of industries including sports & leisure, media, consumer and retail. During his tenure at Stephens, Mr. Miller executed over $1 billion in M&A, Debt and Equity Capital Markets transactions.

Sports Practice Leader, Associate, Henderson Engineers, Inc

Mike Haramia joined Henderson Engineers’s sports practice team in 2004 and has been involved with major pursuits on every level since. He began his career as a designer, moved into project management, and now focuses on business development as Henderson’s West Coast Sports Practice Leader. With experience on a variety of projects, including high-profile arenas, stadiums, and practice facilities nationwide, Mike is known for his ability to stay focused on project goals and his keen managerial skills.

He was an integral part of the project team for the Golden 1 Center – Home of the Sacramento Kings, the first indoor sports venue to earn LEED Platinum designation. The Golden 1 Center is also the first facility in the U.S. with under-seat air distribution system for the seating bowl and the first entirely solar-powered arena in the world.

Currently, Mike serves as the project manager for the new $2.6 billion LA Stadium & Entertainment District at Hollywood Park, the future home of the LA Rams and the LA Chargers.

Executive Director, Dallas Sports Commission

"Serving as the Executive Director for the Dallas Sports Commission, Monica Paul plays an essential role in implementing marketing programs that enhance Dallas’ acquisition of sports competitions and events, including solicitation of Olympic, professional, collegiate and amateur sports, events and meetings. Most recently, she was honored by Connect Sports in 2015 as one of the Top IX Women in the Sports Tourism Industry and by Connect Magazine as being one of the 40 Under 40: Class of 2013, as a leader and innovator in the industry. Paul also works closely with professional leagues, the National Collegiate Athletic Association, Olympic National Governing Bodies and amateur sports federations, selling Dallas as a first-class destination for events, conventions and meetings. She liaised with the Super Bowl XLV Host Committee in 2011, served as Executive Director of the Dallas World Cup Bid Committee, served on the NBA All-Star 2010 Local Organizing Committee, the NCAA Men’s Final Four Local Organizing Committee in 2014, the 2015 College Football Playoff Local Organizing Committee, the 2016 WWE WrestleMania and serves as the Executive Director of the Dallas Local Organizing Committee heading up the 2017 NCAA Women’s Final Four. Prior to joining the Dallas Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2008, Paul was the Associate Director of Events at USA Volleyball where she oversaw the international events and marketing for the USA Women’s and Men’s National Teams from 2007-2008. She was also the Director ofCompetition for the 2007 National Senior Games in Louisville, Kentucky, where 12,000 senior athletes competed in 18 sports over a 16-day period. Prior to the NSGA, Paul was Director of International and Domestic Events for USA Taekwondo from 2004-2006 and Director of Events, Marketing and Sponsorships for the Junior Volleyball Association of Austin from 2001-2003. While at the UT Austin, Monica joined USA Volleyball in 1997 as the Technical Coordinator for the USA Women’s National Team and was a part of the USA Delegation for the 2000 and 2004 Olympic Games.

Paul earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Physical Education at the University of Texas at Austin and a Master’s degree in Sports Administration from the University of Northern Colorado. She currently serves on the National Senior Games Board of Directors and Executive Committee, the Heart of Dallas Board of Directors, the SMU Athletic Forum Board of Directors, and recently completed her term on the North Texas LGBT Chamber of Commerce Board. An avid volleyball fan, she remains actively involved in the sport, representing the USA as a Technical Delegate on the NORCECA Federation Committee."

Agent, WME

Morgan Kenney is a Country Music Agent at William Morris Endeavour (WME).  She joined WME in 2011 and is currently the Midwest Booking Agent for universities, clubs, and theaters.  She also works directly with rising stars Bailey Bryan, Emily Reid, Jackie Lee, The Morrison Brothers, Morgan Myles, Seaforth Temecula Road, and others. 

Morgan is a graduate from Michigan State University.  Outside the office, Morgan enjoys spending time with her new baby girl, Avery, husband, Brett, and rescue puppy, Charlie. 

Senior Research Director, Center for Exhibition Industry Research

Nancy Drapeau, PRC. A 24-year market research veteran with over 18 years in the business-to-business exhibitions sector. As CEIR’s Senior Research Director, Ms. Drapeau conducts industry wide studies and reports on current trends in the exhibition industry. She holds a BA in Government from Georgetown University and a Master’s in Advanced European and International Studies from l’Institut Européen des Hautes Études Internationales. She is an AC Nielsen Burke Institute trained focus group moderator. She is a well-respected industry speaker and an active member of the Marketing Research Association (MRA) as well as a past participant of the International Association of Exhibitions and Events (IAEE) Future Trends Task Force and member of the Convention Industry Council’s (CIC) Research Committee. She lives in Maine, is married with a 16 year-old son and a border collie puppy named Megy.

Agent, UAA l Universal Attractions Agency

Nick Szatmari started as an intern at UAA in 2008. He quickly rose through the ranks, signing his first client, Cassandra Wilson in 2009 as he simultaneously began developing the international touring department at UAA. He signed Bobby Womack to UAA’s roster in 2010, and orchestrated Womack’s post-Gorillaz resurgence, starting with an appearance at London’s famed Jazz Café in 2011 and culminating with a sold out Royal Albert Hall in 2013 before Womack’s passing in 2014.

In 2011 Nick took over as Responsible Agent for George Clinton & Parliament Funkadelic, and has been the driving force behind P-Funk’s comeback in the touring circuit that has followed. Most notably, Szatmari conceived of and implemented a 110 show worldwide routed tour behind Clinton’s first studio release in 30 years that circled the globe and routed through almost every market in North America. Szatmari also conceived of P-Funk’s “Mardi Gras Madness Tour” which was written up in Rolling Stone and remains a staple of the touring circuit.

In 2012 Szatmari signed Hip Hop legends Naughty by Nature to an exclusive contract and the group remains with UAA to this day, now co-headlining UAA’s “I Love the 90’s – The Party Continues Tour” alongside TLC. In 2014 UAA went territorial and Szatmari transitioned into his current role as the senior territorial agent in UAA’s South division. Other notable clients include Will Downing, Warren G, The Brand New Heavies, Black Sheep, and most recently Eric Benet, and Jon Secada.

A native New Yorker, Nick graduated from Professional Performing Arts School before completing his Bachelor of Music at SUNY Purchase Conservatory of Music. He has toured the world as a bass player with Dave Brubeck, Michael Wolff, and Ronnie Laws. He also managed Euphoria Studios, the premier rehearsal studio in NYC from 2001 – 2008, catering to world class touring artists before taking his job at UAA.

Director of Events & Patron Services, Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP

Nick Zazal, CVP is the Director of Events & Patron Services for the Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP in Northwest Arkansas where he oversees FOH operations, Concessions, Security, Volunteers, Client Rental Sales and is the liaison to the Resident Companies.  Prior to his time in Arkansas, Nick spent nearly a decade with the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts in Champaign-Urbana, IL where he oversaw the Events team handling touring production, hospitality and artist logistics.  Nick also works with the Christie Clinic Illinois Marathon as a part of the planning committee overseeing Post-Race food operations.  Nick holds an MS degree in Sports, Recreation and Tourism and a BFA in Theatre (Stage Management), both from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.  A trained stage manager, other past credits include time with the Colorado Shakespeare Festival, International Festival of Arts & Ideas (New Haven, CT) and the Wildwood Park for the Performing Arts (Little Rock, AR).  He is currently Chair of the Membership Committee for IAVM. 

Nick and his wife, Sallie, are the proud parents a 3-year old daughter (Anya) and a newborn son (Jack).

Marketer, National Shows 2 (NS2)

Olivia Christian (Instagram: Marshall_Stacks) is a marketer at National Shows 2 (NS2), a Nashville-based, full-service concert promotion company that creates, produces, and promotes live entertainment events in various venues across the country. With the intent of becoming a rock journalist for Rolling Stone (inspired by Cameron Crowe’s Almost Famous) at a very early age, Olivia enjoyed attending and promoting DIY shows in her hometown of Huntsville, Ala., which were few and far between. She begged her parents to take her to hone her music tastes at various Southern festivals like Big Spring Jam, City Stages, and Warped Tour stops. As a young music lover, she had a passion for crashing her family’s computer with every millennial middle schooler’s favorite illegal download software, Limewire. Olivia attended Belmont University in Nashville, Tenn. to study journalism and public relations. As a student, she enjoyed internships at Ryman Auditorium, Lightning 100’s Live On The Green, and Press Here Publicity in New York City. Following graduation, she cut her PR chops at Kaleidoscope Media as a Junior Account Manager, working with festivals such as Bonnaroo and Louder Than Life, then moved into the Marketing Manager role at War Memorial Auditorium and Tennessee Performing Arts Center. Over her time at WMA and TPAC, she directed The Attic Sessions web series, grew the venues’ social networking presence, and developed War Memorial Auditorium’s brand as a rock destination, marketing multiple sold-out shows at the 2044-capacity room such as Judah and the Lion, Brand New, City and Colour, and Modest Mouse. Olivia has been with NS2 since December of 2016, where she most enjoys brainstorming creative grassroots promotions and stalking daily ticket counts for the shows she markets nationwide.


Patrick's responsibilities largely focus on member activities and workgroups. In addition to managing the ongoing activities of workgroups as well as coordinating insight meetings, Patrick is also responsible for directing HTNG’s internal systems strategy and architecture. Patrick holds several Microsoft systems certifications and is familiar with managing systems across distributed networks, and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Software Engineering. In his prior role, Patrick managed IT projects for a suburban Chicago school district, which totaled 25,000 users in 27 different buildings. In his free time, Patrick enjoys reading popular non/fiction.

Assistant Athletic Director, Facilities & Operations, Georgia State University

Patrick Hatcher joined the Georgia State Athletics Department as the Director of Facilities and Operations in January 2016. Hatcher assists in the management of all athletic facilities as well as the operation of athletic events and outside rentals, including officials, security, custodial, student workers, visiting teams, parking and facility set-up. He also assists with various construction and capital projects for facility renovations.

Prior to joining Georgia State, Patrick Hatcher served as the Director of Operations and Facilities in the Samford Athletics Department for four years. Hatcher oversaw all of the athletic facilities while supervising game day activity for all 17 sports. In addition, Hatcher was the point person for all Southern Conference Championships and other post-season events. He also served as the co-advisor to the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Hatcher came to Samford after one year working as the Championships/Compliance/Operations Assistant at the Southern Conference.

A native of Marietta, Ga., Hatcher is a 2011 graduate from Samford with a bachelor’s degree in exercise science and minor in business administration as well as a 2014 graduate from Samford’s Brock School of Business with a master’s in business administration. Hatcher was a 4 year letter winner as a defensive lineman, earning All-Southern Conference honors in 2008.

Director of Guest Relations, Denver Broncos / Sports Authority Field at Mile High

Entering into his 13th season working as the Director of Guest Relations, Patrick Tetrick oversees a staff of 450 members for Denver Broncos football games, public and private events held at the Sports Authority Field at Mile High.  The Guest Relations staff cover all areas of stadium including ushers, ticket takers, concierge desks and mobility assist personnel.

Patrick grew up in Great Bend, Kansas and joined the US Army as a Military Policeman following high school.  He was stationed in Frankfurt, Germany serving with the 503rd Military Police (MP) Company, 3rd Armored Division (Spearhead) and at Ft. Lee, Virginia with the 555th MP Company.  He then entered the US Army Reserve with the 346th MP Company (Escort Guard) from Hutchinson, KS and the 530th Military Police Battalion in Omaha, NE.  As a Master Sergeant, Patrick retired in 2005 after completing four deployment including Kuwait/Saudi Arabia, Hungary, Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

He received his B.A. in Sports Administration from Wichita State University.  Before his current position, he has occupied the role as the Assistant Security Manager and Guest Relations Manager for the stadium.

Principal, Thornton Tomasetti

Peggy Van Eepoel established and currently oversees the Weidlinger Protective Design practice in the Washington, D.C. office. During her 15-year plus career, Peggy has been involved in the design and structural hardening of more than 100 buildings, including facilities for the U.S. Department of State, General Services Administration, Department of Defense and Veterans Administration. Her diverse portfolio also includes master-planned facilities, office buildings, educational facilities, laboratories, military housing, courthouses, museums and hospitals. Her expertise includes the identification of applicable security standards, site security planning and determination of the blast-loading environment, dynamic analysis of building structure and envelope elements, and progressive-collapse analysis, and SAFETY Act certification.  She has authored numerous papers and articles and has contributed to various technical manuals and guidebooks. She is currently serving as co-editor of an update to the American Society of Civil Engineers’ Structural Design for Physical Security, which will be a state-of-the-practice manual for the design of structures for blast effects.

Principal, Event Risk Management Solutions LLC

Peter is an accomplished security and risk management consultant within the international and US major events environment. He is an innovative leader and an authority on strategies and operational solutions to align and integrate Event Organizing Committees with Government Security Authorities, Police, Public Safety agencies and the private security sector within complex, multi-agency event environments. Peter’s diverse range of skills have been developed over 15 plus years of safety and security planning, operational management and delivery of major events augmented from his experience as an Australian Army Special Forces officer. His major event experience includes the Pasadena Tournament of Roses (2017), Baku 2015 European Games, ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 (Australia & NZ), six Olympic Games (2000 – 2012), the 2010 G8 & G20 Summit (Toronto) and His Holiness the Dali Lama visit to Sun Valley (2005). Peter has led and managed multi-national project teams in Azerbaijan, USA, Greece, Italy, Canada and the UK, and has also worked on projects in Qatar and Russia. Peter is a Director on the International Festivals and Events Association (IFEA) World Board and a regular lecturer and writer on event security and risk management. He has also been engaged as an Expert Witness for legal cases involving event security and risk management. Based out of Boise, Idaho, Peter is the Principal, Event Risk Management Solutions - a boutique consulting practice committed to enhancing safety and security for events and festivals in today’s uncertain world.

President/CEO, Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP

Peter joined Walton Arts Center in May 2009. Since then Walton Arts Center has tripled in size and has grown to become Arkansas’ premier arts presenter. More than 342,600 people attend events at Walton Arts Center venues annually, and the organization’s education programs reach 45,000 students, teachers and citizens statewide. Walton Arts Center serves as home to four resident companies.

Under his leadership, Walton Arts Center opened the state’s largest outdoor entertainment venue, the Walmart AMP, one of Pollstar’s 2016 Top 60 best-selling amphitheaters in the country and recently completed a $24 million campaign to renovate and expand Walton Arts Center’s performing arts campus.

During his tenure Peter has overseen the creation of The Artosphere Festival, a month-long celebration of arts and nature. Signature programs such as Trail Mix - a series of free concerts along the regions extensive trail system and the Artosphere Festival Orchestra with Maestro Corrado Rovaris have received national acclaim. Lane also developed the 10x10 Arts Series, a presentation of 10 arts performances with all tickets at $10 and spearheaded VoiceJam, a new a cappella festival with Deke Sharon. Peter came to Northwest Arkansas from previous leadership positions with the Mann Center for the Performing Arts in Philadelphia and the New York Pops at Carnegie Hall.

Planning Director, Salt Lake County Center for the Arts

Phil Jordan has more than 35 years of management experience in venue operations, theatrical production, and special events.

A committed arts and event management professional, Jordan is a Certified Facilities Executive (CFE) with the International Association of Venue Managers and a member of the IAVM Venue Management School Faculty and Board of Regents.

Since 2005, Jordan served as the Division Director for the Salt Lake County Center for the Arts in Salt Lake County, Utah. He managed a $12 million annual operating budget together with a 45 member team that administered the 2,800-seat Maurice Abravanel Concert Hall, 1,870-seat historic Capitol Theatre, 3 theatres at Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Utah Museum of Contemporary Art (UMOCA), and ArtTix ticketing services. In November, 2016, the new 2,500 seat Eccles Theater was added to that portfolio following eight years of planning and construction specifically targeted for enhanced commercial programming in the Salt Lake regional market. Recently, Jordan was promoted to Cultural Planning & Projects Director to continue the County’s expansion of innovative community facilities and programs.

Prior to his engagement with Salt Lake County, Jordan worked for 18 years as the Director of Production for the Boston Ballet Company. He worked in Las Vegas with the Cirque du Soleil organization for the complex production and initial operations of “O” at Bellagio and managed the Soldier Hollow cross-country and biathlon competition venue for the 2002 Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City.

Deputy Director, Office of SAFETY Act Implementation, Department of Homeland Security

Rachel Abreu currently serves as the Deputy Director of the Office of SAFETY Act Implementation, part of the Research & Development Partnerships Group in the Science and Technology Directorate, Department of Homeland Security. In this capacity, Ms. Abreu provides strategic leadership and counsel, and works directly with the critical infrastructure community to provide important legal liability protections for providers of Qualified Anti-Terrorism Technologies. Since joining the Program in 2010, Ms. Abreu has helped hundreds of products and services successfully receive SAFETY Act protections. A large part of her portfolio has consisted of layered security programs at sport stadia, airports, and commercial facilities. Ms. Abreu received the Under Secretary’s Award for Program Support in 2012 and 2014. In 2015, Ms. Abreu received the Under Secretary’s Award for Rising Star. Prior to joining the Program, Ms. Abreu earned a Bachelor’s of Arts in Economics at Radford University in 2010.

Manager, Ticket Sales & Service, Fox Theatre Atlanta

As the Manager of Ticket Sales & Service, Rachel manages the ticket operations for the Fox Theatre and its 200+ events annually, and facilitates the ticketing needs of the Fox presented events in other Atlanta area venues. Rachel also manages the Fox Theatre Tour program, including revenue generation, program content, and operations. As the leader of the Fox Theatre’s Service Design Team, Rachel is responsible for the creation of all employee training including Guest Experience and Emergency Response, and helps shape the service the Fox Theatre provides. Prior to officially joining the Fox Theatre team in this role in 2011, Rachel worked for Broadway Across America, presenting Broadway at the Fox Theatre in Atlanta and other venues in Birmingham and Jacksonville. Rachel is proud alumni of Michigan State University, where she received her Bachelors in Communications with an emphasis in Business and Mass Media.

CEO and Co-founder of Distil Networks,

Rami Essaid is the CEO and Co-founder of Distil Networks, the first easy and accurate way to identify and police malicious website traffic, blocking 99.9% of bad bots without impacting legitimate users. With over 14 years in telecommunications, network security, and cloud infrastructure management, Rami continues to advise enterprise companies around the world, helping them embrace the cloud to improve their scalability and reliability while maintaining a high level of security.
Producer, Speaker, Consultant, Wings of Fame Productions

Rey O’Day has extensive management experience in the fairs and festivals, food and beverage concessions, and entertainment industries.

She currently teaches the Principles of Event Management as a UC Riverside Extension Instructor and serves as the part time NICA Executive Manager of Councils, an event organization focused on developing vendor/fair staff Communication Committees at fairs and advantaging its vendor members with the power of group discount buying.  Most recently she served as the Producing Artistic Director at Performance Riverside, a highly regarded regional, professional musical theatre company; and, built, equipped and opened a 200 seat theater for the City of Riverside.  Over a period of 18 years she held a number of key management positions at Fairplex, home of the LA County Fair, including Assistant Operations Manager, Retail Sales Manager, Entertainment Manager, Director of Food and Beverage and General Manager of Cornucopia Foods, LLC.

For the IAFE Institute of Fair Management she teaches the “Principles of Food & Beverage” and “Guest Services” courses.  She serves as Best Practices/Industry Standards Consultant for Western Fairs Association.  Under the banner of her consulting company, Wings of Fame Productions, Ms. O’Day gives keynote addresses and leads workshops for numerous event organizations. She also conducts orientations and guest service training for organizations like The Hollywood Bowl and California Fairs Service Authority. 

As a singer/dancer she performed with George Burns, Johnny Mathis, Perry Como, Tennessee Ernie Ford, Kate Smith, Jack Jones, Bing Crosby and was a charter member of “The Young Americans.”   In 1987 she received the YWCA San Gabriel Valley “Woman of Achievement Award” for her many contributions to the arts and humanities. She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management and a Californian Community College teaching credential in Dance.
Her left brain and her right brain enjoy talking with each other.

In summary, she is a General Manager, Artistic Producer, Educator, and Businesswoman who believes the only reason any of us has a job is because we have a customer to serve.  She is grateful to be with us today.

Agent, Concerts, ICM Partners

With over 20 years of agency experience, Rick Farrell has been a music agent at ICM Partners for 17 years. He is the responsible for booking the west coast for the adult contemporary department in the Los Angeles office. ICM’s adult contemporary clients include the Temptations, Kris Kristofferson, Dancing with the Stars and Jay Leno. Rick is responsible for Vicki Lawrence, The Righteous Brothers, Brian Culbertson, William Shatner and others. Rick was born and raised in L.A. and has a bachelor’s degree from Loyola Marymount University in Business Administration.

President, Hunden Strategic Partners

Mr. Hunden and his Chicago-based firm offer extensive experience in the economics and strategy of developing transformative real estate projects. He has provided economic development, finance, feasibility, impact, developer selection and planning expertise for more than 350 projects and
studies over the past 20+ years, totaling more than $3.1 billion in developed real estate. 

His expertise has helped communities and developers understand, develop and successfully open catalytic economic development projects, including conference and convention centers, arenas, performing arts centers, entertainment districts, sports facilities and compelling hotels like the 21c
Museum Hotels, the Omni Fort Worth and numerous other large convention hotels across the country. He has also worked on compelling and transformative convention and exposition centers, arenas and performing arts venues, including the Murat Centre for the Performing Arts in Indianapolis, the Travis County Exposition Center in Austin and the Portland Metropolitan Exposition Center in Oregon. 

Last year, Hunden completed a high-profile study regarding the proposed San Diego Chargers’ Convention Center and Stadium project. Hunden has also consulted on major and minor league sports facilities like Bankers Life Fieldhouse in Indianapolis and a new football stadium for the University of South Alabama, as well as more than twenty youth sports complexes across the country. Mr. Hunden received his degree in Finance from Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana.

President and CEO, Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau

Bob Jameson has delivered record visitation and bookings since being named president and CEO of the Fort Worth Convention & Visitors Bureau in 2013. He previously spent 36 years in leadership positions in the hotel industry.

Recent achievements include record citywide conventions (12) in 2017, more than 8.8 million visitors in 2016 and an economic impact of $2.3 billion. During his tenure, the Bureau launched Fort Worth Sports Marketing and the Fort Worth Film Commission in 2015, and boosted marketing in strategic countries alongside expansion of air service at DFW International Airport.

Jameson has modernized the Bureau, which has been recognized nationally for research, technology and social media initiatives to engage visitors and meeting planners. In 2017 the Bureau commissioned its first strategic plan to boost tourism and meetings.

Jameson’s career in hospitality began with Marriott International in California in 1977 and continued with 28 years in leadership at Fort Worth’s Worthington Renaissance Hotel.

Jameson’s service to civic and arts organizations includes Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of Downtown Fort Worth, Inc. and member of the board of the Fort Worth Metropolitan Black Chamber of Commerce, Fort Worth Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, Cliburn Foundation, Fort Worth Opera, The University of North Texas School of Hospitality and Merchandising and The Arts Council of Fort Worth.

Jameson was born in Long Beach, California, and raised in Garden Grove, California. He graduated from the University of San Francisco in 1976 with a Bachelor of Arts in History. Jameson and his wife, Anne Milder Jameson, are the parents of four children: Bradley, Simone, Mackenzie, and Andrea.

Executive Director, Portland'5 Centers for the Arts

Robyn Williams has worked in the public assembly facility management field for more than thirty years in Texas, North Carolina and Oregon-where she is currently Executive Director for Portland’5 Centers for the Arts. Portland’5 consists of the Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Keller Auditorium, the Newmark,Winningstad and Brunish Theatres.

Robyn has been a member and past president of the International Association of Venue Managers. She was a 15 year instructor and Past Chair of the Board of Regents for IAVM’s Venue Management School.

She is a Certified Facilities Executive and currently serves on the IAVM Foundation Board of Trustees. In 2007, Robyn was voted one of the “ Top Five Women of Influence” by Venues Today magazine. She is a visual artist and past president of Portland Open Studios.

Chief Listening Officer & Managing Partner, Venue Solutions Group

Over the past three decades, Russ Simons has been involved in nearly every facet of the sports facility industry, from design and construction to safety and security, marketing, public relations and operations. In his past role as a senior principal at Populous, Russ directed that firm’s facility operations, evaluation and analysis efforts. He has worked with operators at every level from collegiate to every professional league. His work went hand-in-hand with the firm’s architects to create facilities designed to be safe, efficient, revenue positive and sustainable. The wide variety of clients he has served includes the Orlando Magic, San Diego Padres, the Cajundome, Pittsburgh Steelers, Nashville Predators, Keeneland Equestrian Facility, Major League Soccer and the University of Oklahoma.

Prior to joining Populous, Russ was a senior vice president for Leisure Management International and general manager of Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, home to the Nashville Predators. Russ received his bachelor’s degree in sports marketing from the University of Connecticut. He also graduated from the International Association of Assembly Managers’ (IAAM) Venue Managers School and is the immediate past chair of the school’s board of regents. He was presented the 2009 Ray W. Ward Award from the Venue Managers School’s board of regents in recognition of his service to the school. He is a member of International Association of Venue Managers and serves on its Life Safety Council. Russ is a past instructor for the Academy of Venue Safety and Security and serves on the editorial board for Facility Manager magazine. In 2004, he was honored with the GIGI Award of Excellence from the Event and Arena Marketing Conference and was inducted into that organization’s Hall of Fame. He is on the board of advisors for the Center for Spectator Sports Security Management and he is a member of both the International Facilities Management Association and the Stadium Managers Association. Russ is also a past recipient of the Pollstar Facility Manager of the Year.

Director of Experience, City of Cedar Hill

The Director of Experience for the City of Cedar Hill, Mr. Read is responsible CVB, ED, OAC, Special Events, and of course opening a variety of new buildings.

Previously the VP of Operations for the AT&T PAC, Mr. Read has over twenty-five years of experience in the entertainment industry as an operations manager, designer, stage technician, pryotechnician, and arts administrator.

Prior to the AT&T PAC, Mr. Read oversaw all building and operational aspects of Plano Stages in Plano, Texas. Mr. Read also worked with Vari-Lite as a key industry contact for market requirements and product ideas and taught entertainment technicians the use of Vari-Lite systems.

Mr. Read began his career as a Theater Teacher at Eastfield College in Mesquite, Texas. He has continued to mentor others in the entertainment industry.

A 9th generation Texan, Mr. Read earned a B.F.A. from Southwest Texas State University. Russell Read is a 2005 graduate of the Leadership Southwest 20th Anniversary Class, and a 2006 graduate of IAAMs VMS also the 20 anniversary class. When not working, Russell may be found with his wife embarking on a series of road trips in one of their restored British vehicles…always with a tool bag in the trunk!"

Executive Director Business Development, ExteNet Systems

Russell has over thirty years of experience in the wireless and telecommunications industry with direct technical experience, marketing, management and media content competencies.  His background includes engineering, marketing, design and deployment of wireless access and transport networks for domestic and international markets as well as business development, merger and acquisition successes in the industry.

At ExteNet, Mr. Vest advises on key initiatives in business development policies and objectives related to commercial and Wi-Fi broadband distributed networks.  Responsibilities include assessment and penetration of new vertical markets, defining target customers, analyzing business opportunities complete with content and application definition, developing and reviewing proposals, contract negotiations and cultivating customer relationships.

Mr. Vest holds a BS degree in Electrical Engineering from Southern Methodist University and is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers.  A Texas native, he has lived in Australia, Singapore and both coasts of the United States, prior to moving to Chicago.

Director of Sustainability, Henderson Engineers, Inc.

The director of sustainability, the director of both Henderson University and Henderson Research, and the director of probably something else, Ryan Evans is a man of many titles, and talents; that’s why he’s Henderson’s go to guy – for a lot of stuff. When he’s not presenting the latest and greatest trends in the sport and venue industry or heading up our internal, company-funded research program, Ryan can be found consulting on projects’ mechanical systems and how they interact with the building structure and occupants, leading to high performance designs. A professional engineer and LEED accredited professional, Ryan’s considerable knowledge and credibility is one of the many prominent reasons his clients continuously request him. When it comes to finding the right balance between work, family, and community involvement, Ryan’s your guy. His lighthearted attitude and major dedication in and out of the office is what make him a valuable player to the Henderson team.

Agent, CAA

Sabrina Butera is a Music agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA).   Butera works in the Nashville office and works with many of the world’s leading artists, including Tim McGraw, Zac Brown Band, and Carrie Underwood, among others. 

Butera began her career at CAA in 2010.

Butera graduated from Berklee College of Music with a degree in Music Business.

Theater Operations Manager, Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts

Sara Beatty is the Theater Operations Manager for the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts in Kansas City, MO. She brings a wealth of experience, with a career combining years as an Actor’s Equity Stage Manager, a former high school and college educator, and multiple roles held in technical theater and venue management. She has moved through the ranks at the Kauffman Center, starting as a Production Services Supervisor in its inaugural season. Sara holds a wide range of responsibilities including hospitality management; show advancement; show budgets, contracts, and settlements; and overseeing the booking software.

Sara holds a Master of Fines Arts in Technical Theater, Stage Management from the University of Missouri, Kansas City and a Bachelor of Science in Education from Missouri State University. She is a 2014 graduate of Venue Management School and is currently seeking her CVP. Sara has enjoyed serving on the Performing Arts Sector and multiple scholarship committees in an attempt to give back to IAVM and encourage young professionals.

Marketing & Advertising, National Shows 2, LLC. (NS2)

Sarah Madalinski is a marketer by training and a promoter by experience. At National Shows 2 (Ns2), she is responsible for the marketing and advertising of over 250 concerts nationwide annually. Additionally, she oversees all advertising and promotions for Ns2's events at the Charleston Music Hall & Carolina Theatre of Durham.

Sarah’s storied apprenticeship began as a cold-calling college intern and fill-in mascot at the iWireless Center in Moline, Illinois. Her exemplary efforts & ability to do the “Cha-Cha Slide” in a riverboat captain costume were rewarded with a full-time position at the arena and a love for the event industry. The rest as they say is history. Prior to joining NS2 in 2016, Sarah served as Marketing Director for the U.S. Cellular Center, Paramount Theatre, and McGrath Amphitheatre in Cedar Rapids, IA.

With 11+ years of experience, Sarah currently oversees marketing for established entertainers, up and coming artists and family shows. A seasoned creative strategist & self-declared cheapskate, Sarah draws from multi-disciplinary experience across media buying and negotiations, publicity, digital marketing, and outside-of-the-box rock bottom costs. Insisting her age is always 29ish, she was recognized as the Iowa Corridor's "Top 30 under 30" and most recently in Amplify Magazine as "17 to watch in 2017."

Besides cranking out ad plans and terrible puns at the office, Sarah enjoys spending time with her cat Frances Marie and sampling the finest boxed wines.

CEO, Country Music Association

By assuming the office of CEO of the Country Music Association on Jan. 2, 2014, Sarah Trahern opens another page in an illustrious music industry and television career.

Trahern has more than 30 years of experience in the television business, including 21 years producing or overseeing Country Music programming. Today she is the Chief Executive Officer of the esteemed Country Music Association, which was formed in 1958 as the first trade group to promote a single genre of music.

Her role at CMA is to collaborate with the CMA Board of Directors to expand the mission and strategic objectives of CMA while being mindful of the unique legacy and spirit of the organization. Trahern also serves as President of the CMA Foundation Board, which supports music education programs for deserving children across the U.S.

Trahern brings strong leadership skills, diverse experience, strong industry relationships and a passion for Country Music to the top staff position.

She began her cable career at C-SPAN in Washington, D.C. covering politics and public affairs and producing the popular series “Booknotes.” She moved to Nashville in 1995 to oversee specials and entertainment series for TNN. She joined GAC in 2005 with Scripps’ ownership of the network. She was promoted to SVP of Programming and in 2010, General Manager of the network, where her myriad duties included the strategic direction of the network and oversight of GAC’s programming, marketing, creative, and digital initiatives.

She is a member of the Board of Directors of the Monroe Carroll Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, Georgetown University’s Baker Scholar program, the Country Music Hall of Fame and the Nashville Convention Visitors Corporation (NCVC). She also chaired the Entertainment Committee for the 2016 NHL All Star Hockey game in Nashville.

She is an alum of both Leadership Music and Leadership Nashville.

Trahern’s many industry honors include being named one of Billboard’s Music Top 100 Power Players as well the noted trade magazine’s Top 50 Nashville Power Players. Also, she was recently recognized as one of the Nashville Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs. In 2011, she was the subject and honoree of the Louise Scruggs Memorial Forum by the Country Music Hall of Fame.

Trahern is a graduate of Georgetown University and has an MBA from the Owen Graduate School of Management at Vanderbilt. A native of Champaign-Urbana, Ill., she resides in Nashville with her husband Wayne Flatt.

Executive Director, SaskTel Centre

Scott Ford is the Executive Director of at SaskTel Centre one of Canada’s busiest arenas and the premiere sports and entertainment venue in the great province of Saskatchewan. Scott has over 25 years of experience in the event management and entertainment business. He is a board member of Saskatoon Sports Tourism and has been on the Executive Committee of many National and International events hosted in Saskatoon such as the IIHF World Juniors Hockey Championships, Memorial Cup, Tim Horton’s Brier, Canadian Country Music Awards, PBR Canadian Finals, CIAU University Cup, Juno Awards and many more. Scott is involved in hosting, managing and producing some of Saskatoon’s and Saskatchewan’s largest and most successful events.

Executive Director, iWireless Center

Scott Mullen has been the Executive Director of the i wireless Center since March of 2005. Under his direction the facility has experienced record financial success with an average annual profit of over $800,000 during his tenure

Mullen formerly served as the General Manager of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum from 2000-2005 and was responsible for the day-to-day operation of the 18,000-seat arena along with a 60,000 square ft. exhibit hall. The Coliseum is the home of the NHL New York Islanders and the AFL New York Dragons.

Mullen received a Bachelor of Science Degree in Education from Drake University in Des Moines, IA and went on to earn his Master’s Degree in Sports Administration and Facility Management from Temple University in Philadelphia, PA. Mullen has worked in the public assembly facility industry since 1982 and after completing internships with the NCAA and Philadelphia’s Veterans Stadium; he entered the management level in 1988 as Temple University’s Athletic & Recreation Facilities Manager.

In 1989, Mullen was named the Assistant Facilities Manager for the newly constructed Bender Arena in Washington, DC. In 1991 he joined SMG as the Event Services Manager at the Nassau Coliseum and was later promoted to Event Administrator for the Philadelphia Civic Center. Mullen was named Director of Operations at the Long Beach Convention and Entertainment Center in 1993 and was later promoted to Assistant General Manager for the facility in 1995. Since that time Mullen has held General Manager positions at the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Phoenix, AZ and at the Hersheypark Sports & Entertainment Complex in Hershey, PA.

Mullen has been an active member in the International Association of Assembly Managers since 1993 and has a Certified Facility Executive designation with the organization in addition to being nominated as a District VP in 1999. He has taught graduate level classes at Adelphi University in Garden City, NY and has also served as an athletic facility design consultant for the City of Philadelphia. He is a graduate of the IAAM School for Public Assembly Facility Management and has served on IAAM’s Arena Management, Crowd Management, Stadium and Convention Center Committees and the Long Beach Sports and Special Events Marketing Committee. He has also served on the Executive Board off the Long Island Sports Commission and currently serves on the Quad City Sports Commission and the Genesis Health Foundation Executive Boards.

Scott currently resides in Bettendorf, IA with his wife Laura, daughters Catherine and Erin and son Sean.

Executive Director, VenuWorks

Scott has worked almost 20 years for VenuWorks in a number of facilities in the Midwest. His entire career in the entertainment and sports industry has spanned over twenty-five years serving various positions with a wide range of organizations including the NHL Minnesota North Stars, St. Paul Saints, NBA San Antonio Spurs, MLB Colorado Rockies, NCAA Division I Hockey, United States Hockey League, Central Hockey League, East Coast Hockey League and currently with NCAA Division I Basketball and Southern Professional Hockey League. His experience has not limited to the sports side of the business, but also extends into privately owned arenas, historic theatres and numerous multi-use facilities. Scott has been married to his wife Annie for 22 years and is father to twin nine-year-old boys and a six-year-old daughter. During his off time, Scott enjoys traveling with his family, playing hockey and alpine mountain climbing

Agent, CAA

Shannon Casey is a Music Agent at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency (CAA). Casey works in the Nashville office and oversees fair and festival bookings on the west coast on behalf of the music department’s roster of clients.

The market share leader, CAA Music represents more artists ranked among the top 100 tours of the year worldwide than its next four competitors combined, according to Pollstar. Named “Top Agency” by Billboard for 10 of the past 13 years, CAA’s touring clients cross every genre, from pop, rock, alternative, and country, to hip-hop/R&B, Latin, faith-based, and dance, as well as a comedy. In addition, the agency’s collaborative approach has taken artists into soundtracks, theater, film, television, digital, books, and brand partnerships, among other areas.

Casey also works in conjunction with the CAA Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the agency, to support the Nashville office’s long-standing commitment to Metro Nashville Public Schools (MNPS) and The PENCIL Foundation. She also serves as a cities and communities collaborator with national non-profit organization Women’s Heart Alliance. Casey is also a member of Country Music Hall of Fame, NARAS, the Academy of Country Music, and the Country Music Association.

Casey joined CAA in 1993.

Strategic Consulting Services, MidMarket Solutions, Insperity

For nearly 30 years Sharon has been working with leaders of organizations to advise them on how to implement changes successfully. Her approach to change implementation is based in the practical application of neuroscience. Using this approach she has helped organizations in areas such as, implementation of growth strategies, increase sales, navigate the merger/acquisition process, and the launch of new business offerings. She has a passion to help organization reduce the impediments to successful change implementations. She has worked nationally and internationally and has found the one constant in every organization is change. Sharon has a talent for quickly assessing the issues causing barriers to success and an understanding of how to solve them. Her success coaching executives and leaders garnered her the nickname “the CEO whisperer”.

Deputy Manager II, Big Fresno Fair

Stacy Rianda attended California Polytechnic University, San Luis Obispo and graduated from California State University, Fresno in 1992 with a Bachelor of Science in Agricultural Business. In 1987, Stacy began working for fairs in the livestock department and immediately fell in love with the industry and the people. Before she even graduated from college Stacy began working with the Tulare County Fair in Tulare, CA and was there from 1991 – 2000. She is currently the Deputy Manager of the Big Fresno Fair in Fresno, CA where she has been employed since 2001.

Stacy has been a member of the Rotary Club of Fig Garden for sixteen years and is a past president of the club. She has also served on the board of California Women for Agriculture, Fresno Area Crime Stoppers and the Pop Laval Foundation. Professionally, Stacy served on the board of the Western Fairs Association from 2008 – 2014 as well as the California Fairs Alliance Board.

As the Deputy Manager of The Big Fresno Fair, what Stacy enjoys most is “doing a little bit of everything.” No two days are ever the same!

Retired Venue Manager

Steve Camp retired after a rewarding 34-year career in public assembly venue management. Steve is a Certified Facilities Executive (CFE) and distinguished himself in the Southeast as one of the industry’s leading professionals. He has been involved with four major public assembly building projects in North and South Carolina and has successfully established organizations to manage and operate those venues. Steve learned his trade at the Charlotte Coliseum under legendary Paul Buck and honed his experience at the Dean E. Smith Student Activities Center at UNC Chapel Hill, then returning to Charlotte to open the new Charlotte Coliseum. He served as managing director of Charlotte’s Auditorium/Coliseum/Convention Center Authority from 1989 to 1997, overseeing the operation of four venues with an operating budget of over $23 million. While serving in this position Mr. Camp oversaw the construction and staffing of the new Charlotte Convention Center. Steve served as president and CEO of the Midlands Authority for Conventions, Sports & Tourism from 2001 to 2007 overseeing the construction and staffing of the new Columbia Metropolitan Convention Center which opened in 2004. Steve is a co-author of IAVM’s textbook Public Assembly Venue Management: Sports, Entertainment, Meeting, and Convention Venues.

Director of Arenas, Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP)

Steve Harper CFE has 23 years’ experience in the Venue Management Industry working in venues within the United States and Australia.

Currently  Director of Arenas for Melbourne and Olympic Parks (M&OP), Victoria,  Harper oversees the commercial and operational management of Rod Laver (15,000 seats), Hisense (10,000 seats) and Margaret Court (7,500 seats) Arenas. These venues annually welcome around 400 events and attract more than 2.5 million people including the Australian Open Tennis, national and international sports and entertainment events.

Prior to M&OP Harper served as Chief Operating Officer at VenuesWest, Western Australia where he was responsible for the day-to-day running of seven geographically spread public assembly venues including nib Stadium (19,000 seats), HBF Stadium (5,000 seats) and HBF Arena, these venues attracted over 2 million patrons annually.

Previously Harper was Assistant Director and Acting Director for “SevenVenues” in Virginia, United States where he managed all facets of seven public assembly venues, including five theatres, Scope Arena (13,000 seats) and the Harbour Park Stadium (15,000 seats).

Preceding his time in Virginia, Harper spent nine year in Seattle, Washington managing seven recreation, sporting and entertainment facilities including the 75,000 seat Husky Stadium, which hosted the Washington Huskies Football team and for three seasons the National Football League's (NFL) Seattle Seahawks.  

In 2005 Harper earned the Certified Facilities Executive (CFE).

Harper has been on the Australian Venue Management Association (VMA) board since 2012.   During this time he chaired three of the Association’s Annual Congress’ and the Membership Committee.  In May 2017, Steve Harper became the eleventh President of the VMA.

Chief Executive, Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Limited

Steve relocated back to the Gold Coast Australia in early 2014, where he took up his current position as Chief Executive of the Venue Management Association (Asia and Pacific) Limited (VMA), the peak industry association for Entertainment Arenas, Sports Stadiums, Convention & Exhibition Centres, and Performing Arts Centres in the Asia Pacific region.

He was General Manager of the Sydney Entertainment Centre (2009 – 2013) and was responsible for all live music concerts, sporting events, musicals, and family shows. He was Director of Operations at the Sydney Convention & Exhibition Centre (2003 – 2009), and prior to this was Chief Executive of the Blacktown International Sports Park (2001 – 2003).

Steve spent a decade in the Gold Coast theme park industry where he was Director of Operations at Dreamworld (1996 – 2000), and Show & Entertainment Manager at Sea World (1991 – 1996).

He is a past Board Director of the VMA (2002 – 2011), including 3 years’ service as VMA Chairman (2008 – 2011). He also served as a Board Director of the International Association of Venue Managers (2008 - 2011), and was a Board Director of the Talent Development Project (2009 -2013), a professional program which nurtures the creative talents of aspiring artists in their entertainment careers. 

Steve is a Member of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (MAICD), and is also a Board Director of The Arts Centre Gold Coast (2014 to present).

Senior Research and Policy Manager, Walter E. Washington Convention Center

Steve Schwartz has over thirty-five years’ experience in public assembly facility operations and management.  Since 1986, he has worked for the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in positions of increasing management responsibility, currently serving as Senior Research and Policy Manager.  In this role he provides executive research on market share, revenue and forecasting, customer service metrics, cost analysis, and a wide variety of other topics.  Previously he oversaw facility operations for the Center, including maintenance, capital improvement, exhibitor, audio-video, and production services; and the event management operations, managing a staff of experienced event coordinators as well as providing logistical oversight for national conventions and special events. He was instrumental in working with venue management, service contractors and organized labor to develop and implement the first show-site substance testing program in the United States.  He is one of the project leaders for IAVM’s VenueDataSource project, developing operational and financial benchmarking tools and reports for the North American professional venue management industry, and regularly teaches courses on event legal, ethical and risk management issues for George Washington University and the Society for Government Meeting Planners.

Principal, AMS Planning & Research

Steven A. Wolff, CMC is the founding Principal of AMS Planning & Research Corp. and AMS Analytics, based in Connecticut. For over 28 years, Steven has provided counsel to leading arts, culture, and entertainment enterprises on strategic initiatives, planning and development of capital facilities, and arts market and consumer research. Steven has participated in the development of more than $8 billion of new and renovated capital facilities for the arts. Most recently, the Eccles Theater (Salt Lake City), the Dr. Phillips Performing Arts Center (Orlando), and a new home for Writers’ Theatre in Chicago. He has guided projects from needs assessment through project definition to site selection, financing and project implementation, operation and re-imagination.

Steven provides research and management counsel to explore innovative new business models, including change initiatives, governance and management evolution, strategic planning and program evaluation for organizations including: the Denver Center for Performing Arts, and the Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami.

Steven is on the faculty at the Yale School of Drama, where he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in theater administration and teaches Decision Support. He is a member of the Institute of Management Consultants and holds the designation Certified Management Consultant (CMC).

Booking Director, Feld Entertainment

Sue Quinlan is a veteran entertainment industry professional with nearly 20 years of experience and verifiable success.  She started her career in Broadcast Journalism and worked as a Reporter for WHOI, an ABC affiliate in Peoria, IL.  Quickly realizing that her passion was not in broadcast but rather in sports entertainment, Sue joined SFX Motor Sports in 2000.  As a promoter, she managed local marketing campaigns for various motorsports events including Monster Jam, Supercross, IHRA Drag Racing and Professional Bull Riders.

Withstanding the evolution of four corporate ownership changes, Sue quickly rose through the ranks and was promoted to Director of Event Marketing and Sales in 2008 when Feld Entertainment acquired Live Nation’s motorsports division.  As Director of Marketing, Sue managed a team of promoters and oversaw the marketing and live event management for Feld Entertainment’s touring productions including Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, Disney on Ice, Nuclear Cowboyz, Disney Live as well as the aforementioned motorsports properties. 

After 13 years of being a road warrior, an opportunity presented itself for Sue to parlay her strong venue relationships into Feld Entertainment’s North American Routing and Tours department.  As Booking Director, Sue serves as the chief negotiator for roughly 100 annual engagements and develops itineraries for 15 North American tours totally more than 900 annual engagements. 

Sue is active within the industry and currently serves as a Mentor in the IVAM Mentor Connector Program.  She is also passionate about photography and owns her own photography company specializing in outdoor family portraits.  Her favorite subjects to photograph are her husband and two beautiful daughters.

Executive Director, International Association of Campus Law Enforcement Administrators (IACLEA)

Executive Director Riseling leads IACLEA with over 3,100 members in 15 countries. E.D. Riseling retired from UW-Madison as the Associate Vice Chancellor and Chief of Police in August of 2016. She held the UW-Madison position for 25 years. During her time at UW-Madison Chief Riseling was a former IACP Vice President. The IACP is the world’s largest police leadership organization with close to 30,000 members in 120 countries.

Sue is the Past President of the Dane County chiefs of Police, the Wisconsin Chiefs of Police Association and the first woman and first University Police Chief to hold that particular position. She is the Past President and founder of the National Association of Women Law Enforcement Executives. In 2003 Sue was awarded the Motorola Law Enforcement Executive of the Year. In 2015, the UW-Madison bestowed the Chancellor’s Award to Sue for her work serving students, staff and faculty.

Director, Human Resources, AT&T

With over 29 years of service, Susan started at AT&T in the Law Department before working the majority of her career in a variety of roles within Human Resources.  She has served as a strategic HR business partner supporting technology organizations, start-ups, business, corporate and support functions while rounding out her experience as a specialist in HR with Organizational & Career Development, Performance Management, Compensation, Benefits, and AT&T’s Workforce 2020 transformation. Sue has a passion for leading strategic and change management initiatives that meet business needs while making a difference for organizations and their people.  In her current role she leads the team responsible for championing AT&T’s great place to work for ALL movement – creating a culture of high trust and high engagement that supports the company’s business strategy and landmark transformation.  This work most recently landed AT&T a spot for the first time on Fortune’s 100 Best Places to Work list. 

Susan serves as a mentor and active member of AT&T’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) – IDEAL (Individuals with Disabilities), WOA (Women of AT&T), APCA (Asian Pacific Islanders) and OxyGEN (cross-generations).  She donates her time to Feed My Starving Children, Stop Hunger Now, Senior Food & Nutrition Program (SFNP), and National Alliance for Mental Illness (NAMI).

Susan was born and raised in Chicago, Illinois where she currently resides with her husband of 27 years, also a long-time AT&T employee, and their three children.  She enjoys spending time with her family, sports, yoga, being outdoors and dabbling in interior design.  She is energized by change and new opportunities, and finds it most rewarding to develop, empower, and inspire team members to utilize and enhance their unique capabilities to achieve their business and career goals.

Venue Director, Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Denver Arts & Venues

Tad Bowman is the Venue Director for Red Rocks Amphitheatre and the Denver Coliseum for the City of Denver’s Division of Arts & Venues. As the Venue Director he and his staff oversee the business and operations of the facilities including booking and contracting, food and beverage service, capital maintenance and improvements, production services, and guest services.

Sustainability Manager, Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA)

Tim oversees environmental and social sustainability at the Georgia World Congress Center Authority (GWCCA), which comprises the Georgia World Congress Center, Georgia Dome, Centennial Olympic Park, and the Savannah International Trade and Convention Center. Since 2010, he works to improve internal operations, reduce the impact of events, and increase awareness of the organization’s stewardship efforts. He’s a LEED Accredited Professional and administered the GWCC’s LEED for Existing Buildings Silver certification making it the world’s largest LEED certified convention center. Tim is a sustainability consultant for the College Football Playoff and Super Bowl, and is a Faculty Associate at Arizona State University where he leads the Global Context thread of the online Master’s for Sustainability Leadership program. He earned a Bachelor’s degree from Florida State University and a Master’s degree from Arizona State University.

Vice President, Industry Relations, Brooklyn Sports & Entertainment

Tina Suca, a seasoned entertainment executive, has over 20 years of experience in the entertainment business where she has served as Vice President of Entertainment for ArenaNetwork, General Manager/Regional Booker for SMG at Nassau Coliseum & The Forum and General Manager at The Wiltern Theatre for Live Nation. She is currently Vice President, Industry Relations, for Brooklyn Sports and Entertainment where she supports the booking efforts for Barclays Arena, NYCB LIVE, Home of Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum and the LIU Brooklyn Paramount Theatre.

Operations Analyst, Georgia State University

Todd Ballew has a strong background in the operations and management of sporting events and large spectator gatherings, working as an Assistant Athletic Director for Operations for nearly a decade. As part of these duties, Todd worked as the user’s representative on several capital improvement projects for sporting venues. Todd’s background brings a unique perspective to the Heery organization. His practical experience in event management and project responsibility from the “client-side” blended with his experience from the “provider-side” affords both client and staff with a true understanding of sport facility goals. Todd is the Operations Analyst for GSU Stadium redevelopment project working closely with the user group and the design team to ensure functional efficiency.

Todd has a Master’s Degree in Athletics Administration and has worked in Athletic Programs at Clemson University, Florida State University, and University of Tulsa.

Booking Manager, Tacoma Dome

Tom Alexander started off his career 25 years ago in Santa Monica, California at PACE Concerts as the booking assistant for ex-ICM and CAA agent Hal Lazareff.

This early opportunity introduced Tom to several key industry people including John Meglen, Bob Roux and Louie Messina, who remain allies to this day. The touring bug caught Tom and he jumped on the road with Yanni, Andrea Bocelli and others.

Opportunity knocked again and Tom spent seven years working for AEG Live in L.A. and Dallas managing the tour and regional contract administration reviewing venue, artist and co-pro deals.

Tom joined Live Nation Touring in 2009 to work on the worldwide Nickelback tour immediately followed by Roger Waters’ “The Wall Live” tour. The road bug was cured with the arrival of two wonderful kids.

Following a couple more booking gigs in Houston with Live Nation and the Allen Event Center in Dallas, in 2013 Tom joined the team at the Tacoma Dome in Washington as the Booking Manager. With the Pacific Northwest being his favorite spot in the country, he has firmly dug his heels in and plans to help continue a revenue growth trend while booking meaningful and exciting content.

Chairman & Chief Executive Officer, Thornton Tomasetti

Tom Scarangello leads the strategic direction and oversight of the firm while also being highly engaged with clients, projects and staff development. He has more than 35 years of experience in the structural engineering of a wide variety of building types, with a focus on sports, entertainment, and public assembly venues. Tom has also led Thornton Tomasetti into the forefront of project delivery services and engineering technologies for building analysis, design and construction. When he became chairman in 2008, he oversaw the development of the firm’s strategic plan for growth and innovation in areas such as building information modeling and integrated project delivery. Since the 2015 merger with Weidlinger Associates, Tom has championed the expansion of the Protective Design practice into a provider of a broad suite of security services. Tom was elected chairman of the New York Building Congress, 2014-2016. He is active in numerous philanthropies and serves as a trustee of St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City.

Senior Director of Communication and Public Relations, Tennessee Performing Arts Center

With experience as a reporter, U.S. Senate staff member, campaign strategist, and consultant, Tony Marks moved to Nashville in 2010 to be part of the city’s expanding creative and community-focused culture. Serving as Senior Director of Communication and Public Relations for the nonprofit Tennessee Performing Arts Center, Tony oversees communication, earned media coverage, and content development for the center’s diverse entertainment programming, its nationally respected and comprehensive arts education initiatives, and the larger role it plays in one of the most vibrant arts communities in the country.

Senior Director of Sales and Promotions, Columbus Arena Sports & Entertainment

Tracy Hedrick is a global marketing industry leader with over 19 years of experience in artist management and promoting live events from concerts to family shows in arenas, amphitheaters and stadiums. She is the Senior Director of Sales and Promotions for the Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena in Columbus, Ohio.

Tracy started her career at Polaris (Germain) Amphitheater in 1998 and was a Regional Marketing Director for Live Nation until she left for the Dominican Republic in 2010. She served on the executive committee to open the first all-inclusive Hard Rock Hotel and Casino in Latin America. As a Hard Rock brand ambassador, she mentored staff (3,000+ employees) and directors, as well as marketed the 121 acre property to guests.

She is a worldwide touring executive overseeing Yanni’s marketing strategies for concerts in over 25 countries during the past five years.

CEO and Founder, Etix

Travis founded Etix in 2000 based on the belief that venues could and should control their own destiny. Travis is a founder and developer of technology and telecommunications service enterprises and graduated with degrees in economics and statistics from North Carolina State University. An active supporter of the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, the organization named Travis 2010 Man of the Year for raising more than $100,000.

Executive Director, Chesapeake Conference Center

Troy Thorn serves as Executive Director of the Chesapeake Conference Center, a venue professionally managed by VenuWorks.  Before moving to Coastal Virginia, Thorn served as Executive Director of the Vicksburg (MS) Convention Center & Auditorium and Assistant Director of the Dallas (TX) Convention Center.  With over 20 years as a venue manager, Thorn has chaired a number of IAVM committees and served as Region 6 Director.  A graduate of VMS and the Graduate Institute, Thorn attributes an early introduction to IAVM through Frank Poe and Mina Boyd as a key element of his successful career.

Hoya Blue to his core, Thorn has a Bachelor’s of Science in Business Administration from Georgetown University and attended the University of Texas at Arlington graduate School of Urban Planning and Administration.

When not volunteering with youth in the community Thorn serves as a member of the Hampton Roads Chamber - Chesapeake Board, Chesapeake Tourism Advisory Board and Tidewater Community College Business Management Advisory Committee.

Vice President of Operations, Metro Toronto Convention Centre

Vince Quattrociocchi, Metro Toronto Convention Centre’s Vice President of Operations, has over 30 years of experience in Facility Management. Mr. Quattrociocchi oversees the Security, Maintenance, Cleaning Services, Parking, Docks Operations and Sustainability program at the MTCC’s North and South buildings, which combined comprise 2.5 million square feet and over 800 employees. The Metro Toronto Convention Centre is Canada's largest Convention and Trade facility hosting over 500 events and attracting over 1.5 million visitors annually ranging from large international city-wide conventions to small local corporate meetings.

Throughout his 19-year tenure with the MTCC, Mr. Quattrociocchi has been key player in the company's growth and success. Under Mr. Quattrociocchi’s leadership, the MTCC has seen significant advancements in physical building improvements with recent major modernizations of both the north and south buildings, innovative technologies and automation, energy conservation and environmental sustainability initiatives; all of which has positioned the MTCC as an industry leader. Other initiatives include comprehensive work involving building physical security improvements, emergency preparedness, health and safety.

Mr. Quattrociocchi is a current member of Building Owners & Managers Association (BOMA) where this year the MTCC was awarded the prestigious T.O.B.Y. award for the “Outstanding Building of the Year”. Also this year, the MTCC received the BOMAbest “Platinum” level certification for building environmental standards. In addition, the MTCC received the Canadian Green Building Council’s, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (L.E.E.D) designation, “Gold” level and the Green Meeting Council’s ASTM/APEX Environmentally Sustainable Event Standard for Meeting Venue.

Mr. Quattrociocchi is an active member of International Association of Venue Managers (IAVM) and has completed the IAAM Executive Program at Cornell University and is a former instructor of the Academy for Venue Safety & Security (A.V.S.S.). Mr. Quattrociocchi has served on the Board of Lung Cancer Canada and the Toronto Downtown Business Improvement Association.

Vice President of Operations, Walton Arts Center/Walmart AMP

Wendy Riggs has 38 years of arts and venue management, marketing, consulting and teaching experience from arts and cultural institutions including the Fabulous Fox Theatre, Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, True Colors Theater Company, Cobb Energy Performing Arts Centre and Walt Disney World. She is currently serving as Vice President of Operations at the Walton Arts Center and Walmart Amp where she oversees all operational departments including production, front of house and events, and maintenance and housekeeping,

Prior to her current job Riggs served as Director of Arts and Entertainment where she oversaw daily operations, for the Tuscaloosa Amphitheater, Tuscaloosa River Market and Mildred Westervelt Warner Transportation Museum for the City of Tuscaloosa. She has a bachelor’s degree from Auburn University and a master’s degree from the University of Alabama. She also served as a professor at the University of Alabama where she taught Arts Venue Management and developed a Master’s program in Arts Administration for SCAD, Savannah College of Arts and Design in Atlanta.

President, GARDA Risk Management, LLC

William Flynn is the president of GARDA Risk Management, LLC specializing is homeland and national security policy and operations with a focus on critical infrastructure security and resilience. Mr. Flynn also serves as a Senior Fellow at the George Washington University Center for Cyber & Homeland Security.

Mr. Flynn previously served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s Office of Infrastructure Protection, in the Bush and Obama administrations, where he led the coordinated national effort to reduce risk to our nation’s critical infrastructure posed by acts of terrorism. In November 2012, he was nominated by the Secretary of Homeland Security and selected to chair a North Atlantic Treaty Organization’s (NATO) committee responsible for coordinating and monitoring national and NATO arrangements for civil emergencies, crisis management and critical infrastructure protection.  

Mr. Flynn joined the federal government after 24 years with the NYC Police Department. On September 11, 2001, he responded to the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center where he oversaw the collection and custody of recovered evidence and property, the biometric identification of recovered victims and the deployment of emergency response equipment.

Mr. Flynn is also a retired Captain with over 35 years of active and reserve service in the United States Navy, with deployments to the Middle East, Southwest Asia, and the Philippines.  He holds a Baccalaureate degree in Criminal Justice from St. John’s University and a Master’s degree in Organizational Psychology from Columbia University. Among his numerous military and civilian awards are the Legion of Merit, the Director of National Intelligence Meritorious Unit Citation and the prestigious Senior Executive Service Presidential Meritorious Rank Award which honors career executives for sustained extraordinary accomplishments.

Associate Vice President, Business Advancement, Ohio State University

With 35 years of experience in the live event and facility management industry, Xen Riggs has provided management oversight of multiple facilities and operations including four arenas, six theaters,  student unions, recreation complexes, campus dining services, movie theatres, hotels and conference centers.  

Currently Xen’s titles at The Ohio State University (OSU) include Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Associate Vice-President of Student Life, and Executive Associate Athletic Director.  He is also COO for Columbus Arena Management (CAM) and President of Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment (CASE), where he is the senior officer in charge of joint management for the Jerome Schottenstein Center and Nationwide Arena - both 20,000-seat multipurpose arenas in Columbus, Ohio.  He serves on several Boards including the Executive Committee for the Arena Network.

In Xen’s various positions at OSU, he oversees multiple campus facilities and new program development.  As Associate Vice-President of Business Advancement, Xen supervises the Schottenstein Center, the Blackwell Inn, Drake Performance and Event Center, Fawcett Conference and Event Center,  and Strategic Business Advancement which includes Trademark and Licensing and university-wide Affinity Agreements and Sponsorships.

Commissioning Professional, Outcome Construction Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henderson Engineers

Zach is a commissioning professional at Outcome Construction Services, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Henderson Engineers. His background includes building system’s design and performance projects nationwide. Zach’s expertise is in testing and configuring systems and building envelope. Zach was involved in the original energy analysis of AT&T Center, Home of the San Antonio Spurs. He also served as onsite construction administrator because of his operations experience and his ability to collaborate with design and construction teams.

Assistant General Manager, SMG Jacksonville

As the Assistant General Manager and Arena Director for SMG Jacksonville, Zane is responsible for the six city owned venues; EverBank Field, Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, Times-Union Center for the Performing Arts, Prime F. Osborn III Convention Center and Ritz Theatre & Museum. His primary focus and oversight is on booking, programming, event development, the five sports tenants, the box office department, event management, client relations and overall customer experience.

In addition to his SMG Jacksonville duties, Zane serves as the SMG Southeast Regional Booking Director to assist Jim McCue and John Bolton to drive concerts and other programming into the SMG venues in the southeastern United States.

Prior to Jacksonville, he spent seven years in Pennsylvania as a Regional General Manager for SMG with duties that included day to day operations, booking and marketing of the Santander Arena, Performing Arts Center and the Reading Royals hockey team of the ECHL. Zane’s regional oversight included the Canton Civic Center, Akron Civic Theatre, Cambria County Memorial Arena and Ebensburg Ice Rink.

Zane spent three years in Saginaw, MI as the General Manager of the Dow Event Center, two years as the Director of Operations of the Sovereign Center & Performing Arts Center in Reading, PA and two years in Connecticut as the Director of Operations of the New Haven Coliseum. As a member of the IAVM, he is part of the Arena Sector Committee and Industry Affairs Council. He enjoys spending time with his wife Kathy of 23 years and two children, Charles (17) and Emily (11), plus playing golf, hockey and racquetball.

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